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Wholesome Bulgur Pilaf with Freekeh, Green Beans and Red Onions

Bulgur with freekeh, green beans and red onions; Taze fasulyeli, firikli bulgur pilavi

Bulgur with freekeh, green beans and red onions; Taze fasulyeli, firikli bulgur pilavi

Firik or Freekeh is indeed super food and an ancient grain; I love its delicious, nutty taste, similar to pearl barley. I recently made this delicious bulgur pilaf with freekeh and green beans; it turned out to be a wholesome, tasty vegetarian main course for us. We enjoyed bulgur with freekeh and green beans, Taze Fasulyeli, Firikli Bulgur Pilavi, with my Cacik dip of yoghurt, cucumber and dried mint for a complete and wholesome meal. If you are observing Ramadan, this wholesome pilaf with vegetables also proves to be a healthy, easy and delicious meal option.

Freekeh or firik; a wholesome, delicious and ancient grain

Bulgur and freekeh or firik; a wholesome, delicious and ancient grain

Freekeh is used a lot at my home town Antakya, ancient Antioch, and pairs with bulgur, vegetables and meat beautifully. Firik, (as in Turkish) or Freekeh (sometimes spelled frikeh) or farik is a cereal food made from green wheat that goes through a roasting process in its production. Firik is a popular and ancient grain used Middle Eastern & Southern Turkish cuisine and also popular in Levantine, Egyptian, Arabian Peninsula and North African cuisine. Here’s some more information on freekeh and my bulgur pilaf with freekeh, eggplant (aubergine) and meat recipe if you’d like to try out.

Bulgur pilaf with freekeh, green beans and red onions; delicious with a dollop of yoghurt on top.

Bulgur pilaf with freekeh, green beans and red onions; delicious with a dollop of yoghurt on top.

Runner beans, green beans or dwarf beans would all work well in this recipe; they are delicious combined with red onions, freekeh and bulgur. Bulgur is widely available now in supermarkets and you can find freekeh in Specialty, Turkish or Middle Eastern stores. I like to serve this wholesome pilaf with Turkish red pepper flakes or chili flakes on top, accompanied by a dollop of yoghurt or with refreshing Cacik dip of yoghurt, cucumber and dried mint.

I hope you enjoy this delicious, wholesome meal, Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

5.0 from 2 reviews
Bulgur Pilaf with Freekeh, Green Beans and Red Onions
 
I hope you enjoy this delicious and wholesome bulgur with super grain freekeh or firik, combined with green beans, red onions and garlic. Runner beans, green beans or dwarf beans would all work well in this recipe; they are delicious combined with red onions, freekeh and bulgur. I like to serve this wholesome pilaf with Turkish red pepper flakes or chili flakes on top, accompanied by a dollop of yoghurt or with refreshing Cacik dip of yoghurt, cucumber and dried mint.
Author:
Recipe type: Healthy grains; bulgur and freekeh with vegetables
Cuisine: Vegetarian - Turkish Cuisine
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 350gr/12oz/2 cups coarse bulgur, rinsed and drained
  • 225gr/8oz/ generous 1 cup firik or freekeh, rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 300 gr/ 11 oz./ 2 cups green, runner or dwarf beans, trimmed and cut into 3 cm / 1” long pieces
  • 400 gr/ 14 oz. can of chopped tomatoes or 3 ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 60 ml / 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 pints/ 5 cups of hot water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Red pepper flakes or chili flakes to serve
  • Dollop of plain yoghurt to serve
Instructions
  1. Trim the green beans and cut into 3 cm / 1” long pieces. If you are using runner beans, also slice them lengthways.
  2. Heat 3 tbsp. olive oil in a heavy pot and stir in the red onions and green, runner or dwarf beans. Stir and sauté gently for 2-3 minutes over medium to high heat.
  3. Pour in the remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil and stir in the garlic, rinsed bulgur and freekeh, combine all well with green beans and red onions.
  4. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and hot water, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to your taste. Combine well.
  5. Bring the pot to the boil. Then cover, reduce the heat and simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed.
  6. Turn the heat off. Cover the pan with a clean kitchen paper towel and place the lid firmly on top (the paper towel will absorb any excess moisture). Rest the pilaf for 5-10 minutes before serving.
  7. Serve the bulgur pilaf with frekeeh and green beans hot with Turkish red pepper flakes, pul biber sprinkled over, if you like. Refreshing Cacik Dip of diced cucumbers and dried mint with yoghurt or plain yoghurt complement this bulgur & freekeh pilaf very well.
Notes
Runner beans, green beans or dwarf beans would all work well in this recipe; they are delicious combined with red onions, freekeh and bulgur. Bulgur is widely available now in supermarkets and you can find freekeh in specialty, Turkish or Middle Eastern stores.

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Ancient, Wholesome; Bulgur Pilaf with Freekeh, Eggplant and Meat

Firik or Freekeh is a super food and an ancient grain; I absolutely love its delicious, nutty taste, similar to pearl barley. Freekeh used to feature a lot at my grandmother’s table in Antakya, ancient Antioch, when I was a child. Cooked with bulgur and fresh butter, it always tasted so heavenly and the mesmerizing smells always greeted us. Freekeh is a real treat by itself and pairs with bulgur, vegetables, chickpeas and meat beautifully.

Ancient firik or freekeh; a delicious and healthy grain, pairs with bulgur and vegetables so well.

Ancient firik or freekeh; a delicious and healthy grain, pairs with bulgur and vegetables so well.

Firik, (as in Turkish) or Freekeh (sometimes spelled frikeh)  or farik is a cereal  food made from green wheat that goes through a roasting process in its production.  Firik is a popular and ancient grain used Middle Eastern & Southern Turkish cuisine and also popular in Levantine, Egyptian, Arabian Peninsula and North African cuisine. The wheat is harvested while the grains are yellow and the seeds are still soft; it is then piled and sun-dried. The piles are then carefully set on fire so only the straw and chaff burn and not the seeds. It is the high moisture content of the seeds that prevents them from burning. The now roasted wheat undergoes further thrashing and sun-drying to make the flavor, texture, and color uniform. It is this thrashing or rubbing process of the grains that gives this food its name, farīk or “rubbed.” The seeds are now cracked into smaller pieces so they look like a green bulgur.

Antakya - Antioch's ancient Long Market - Uzun Carsi, with abundance of grains, spices and more

Antakya – Antioch’s ancient Long Market – Uzun Carsi, with abundance of grains, spices and more

This delicious, ancient grain freekeh is a similar food made from barley and it is also mentioned in the Bible. Freekeh is also considered as a superfood, as in the category of the healthy grains such as quinoa and farro. Freekeh has at least four times as much fiber  as some other comparable grains, consisting mostly of insoluble fiber. It also has a low glycemic index so is suitable for managing diabetes. You can get freekeh in Middle Eastern or specialty food stores abroad, though it is widely available in Turkey. Bulgur is now widely available in supermarkets, so great to see.

Freekeh with bulgur, eggplants and meat - Firikli Bulgur Pilavi; a delicious & healthy meal.

Freekeh with bulgur, eggplants and meat – Firikli Bulgur Pilavi; a delicious & healthy meal.

I cooked my firik, freekeh here with bulgur, onions, eggplants (aubergine) and chunks of meat. The delicious nutty texture of the grains worked so well with the vegetables. Addition of any meat of your choice is lovely though just with the grains and vegetables itself, this meal would be a delicious vegetarian feast. Chickpeas would go well in this dish too. Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi, gives a wonderful, rich flavor to this dish; you can make your own red pepper paste too, here is my recipe  if you like to make your own. You can also add some heat and flavor with the Turkish red pepper flakes, pul biber.

Serves 6

Preparation time: 25 minutes                  Cooking time: 30 -35 minutes

350gr/12oz/2 cups coarse bulgur, rinsed and drained

225gr/8oz/ generous 1 cup firik or freekeh, rinsed and drained

1 large eggplant (aubergine), diced

2 medium onions, finely diced

450gr/ 1 lb. small chunks of beef, chicken or lamb (optional)

15 ml/ 1 tbsp. Turkish red pepper paste (biber salcasi)

15 ml/1 tbsp. tomato puree

60ml/2 fl. oz./ ¼ cup olive oil

2 pints/ 5 cups hot water

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

 

Red pepper flakes, pul biber to serve

Cacik dip of diced cucumbers, plain yoghurt and dried mint  to serve

Layer the eggplant pieces on a tray and sprinkle salt over them, leave them aside for 15 minutes (salt will help the moisture and bitter juices come out of the eggplant).

Layer the eggplant pieces on a tray and sprinkle salt over them (salt will help the moisture and bitter juices come out of the eggplant).

First prepare the eggplants (aubergines). Peel the eggplants lengthways in stripes using a vegetable peeler or a small sharp knife. Cut the eggplant in quarters and then slice into bite size pieces. Layer the eggplant pieces on a tray and sprinkle salt over them, leave them aside for 15 minutes (salt will help the moisture and bitter juices come out of the eggplant). After 15 minutes, dry the eggplants with kitchen or paper towel thoroughly.

Heat the 2 tbsp. olive oil in a heavy pan and sauté the onions until soft and they begin to color. Add the pieces of meat, stir and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Toss in the diced eggplants and the remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil. Stir and sauté over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until they start to color and soften. Then stir in the red pepper paste and tomato paste and combine well with the vegetables and the meat. Season with salt and ground black pepper.

Bulgur pilaf with freekeh, eggplants and meat; firikli bulgur pilavi

Bulgur pilaf with freekeh, eggplants and meat; firikli bulgur pilavi

 Now add the bulgur and freekeh to the pan and mix well. Pour in the hot water, stir and bring it to the boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer on low to medium heat for about 20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Turn off the heat, cover the pan with a clean kitchen towel and place the lid on firmly. Rest the pilaf for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Cacik dip with yoghurt, cucumber and dried mint; delicious and refreshing

Cacik dip with yoghurt, cucumber and dried mint; delicious and refreshing

Serve the bulgur and frekeeh pilaf hot with Turkish red pepper flakes, pul biber sprinkled over, if you like. Refreshing Cacik Dip of diced cucumbers and dried mint with yoghurt complements this bulgur & freekeh pilaf very well.

Ancient St Peter's Church, Antakya, Antioch where early Christians congregated.

Ancient St Peter’s Church, Antakya, Antioch where early Christians congregated.

I hope you enjoy this delicious, ancient food, packed with goodness; Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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