There’s a thriving Turkish community round my way (Stoke Newington), the very same group who defended our streets with baseball bats during the London riots. In homage to them, and one of my favourite restaurants in these parts—Bos Cirrik—I have attempted to recreate one of the most delicious dishes on the menu (in my humble opinion): kisir.
Normally, I bow to their greater genius, but we’re on a budget people—if we’re ever going to scrape enough cash together for the dream house, eating out has to go. Oh, and this is still pretty tasty, even if I say so myself.
180g bulgur wheat
2 tbsp tomato purée
4 tomatoes, finely chopped
2 red onions, finely chopped (whole if you have a hot barbecue handy)
2 tbsp pomegranate sauce
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 green chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped
3 spring onions, finely chopped
1 heaped tsp cumin
A small bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
A handful of mint leaves, chopped
A handful of walnuts, roughly chopped
Pomegranate seeds to garnish
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying and dressing (olive oil is best)
Take a saucepan with a lid and add the bulgur wheat and water plus a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat right down and simmer for 15 minutes, lid on.
If you have a hot barbecue handy, peel the onions, wrap them in foil and pop them on the barbecue until soft. Remove the foil, pop back onto the barbecue grill for added smoky goodness until the outer layer browns, then drench in the pomegranate sauce before chopping finely. If you happen to have some turnip juice hanging around (I know, like who doesn’t have turnip juice at the ready?) slosh some over. I didn’t, hence it does not appear in the ingredients list.
If you don’t have a barbecue on the go, finely chop the onions and fry until soft. Coat in the pomegranate sauce and allow to caramelise slightly.
Add the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes and lemon juice to the onions and season generously. Simmer for 5 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft. Turn off the heat.
When the bulgur wheat has absorbed all the water, stir into the tomatoes etc. Add the chilli, garlic, spring onions and cumin, stir and taste to check the seasoning.
Put the kisir in a bowl and sprinkle over the parsley, mint, walnuts and pomegranate seeds.