This wonderful, traditional pilaf is popular at my hometown, ancient Antioch – Antakya, and it is served with caramelized onions over the top. Meals made with bulgur, combined with vegetables and pulses are generally called “As” in southern Turkey; this pilaf was one of our much loved comfort food growing up at home. There are many varieties of it throughout the Levant and Middle East – The Middle Eastern version, Mujaddara, is generally made with rice rather than bulgur.
The sweetness of the caramelized onions complements the lentils and bulgur really well. I like to serve it with spicy pickled peppers or a green salad with a sharp lemon juice and olive oil dressing, like this Shepherd’s Salad; they complement the pilaf wonderfully. Easy, healthy and delicious, this pilaf can be kept in fridge for 2-3 days.
Variation: I had some chestnut mushrooms that needed using the other day. So I sautéed the slices of the mushrooms with some crushed garlic, and then added a handful of chopped parsley. Seasoned with salt and pepper and added a juice of 1/2 lemon to the mixture for a nice tangy finish. I served the bulgur and green lentils pilaf with this sautéed mushrooms, it was delightful. Just another idea for serving.
This recipe and many more authentic, wholesome, delicious Turkish recipes are included at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table – Signed copies (now 20 % off) as well as ebook options are available at this link, hardback signed copies are delivered worldwide, now with a special lower rate of delivery to the US, Canada and Mexico. You can also have a look at the lovely Ozlem’s Turkish Table apron on sale at this link, it can make a lovely gift.
Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 35 minutes
225gr/8oz/1 cup green lentils
350gr/12oz bulgur wheat, rinsed
15ml/1 tablespoon mild olive oil
750ml/ 1/4 pints/3cups hot water
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
45ml/3 tablespoons mild olive oil
Pickled green and red peppers
Boil the green lentils in a heavy pan with plenty of hot water for about 15 minutes. Drain the water and set the green lentils aside.
Combine the half cooked green lentils and rinsed the bulgur wheat in a heavy pan. Pour in the hot water and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine thoroughly. Bring to boil for 1-2 minutes, and then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer until all the liquid has been completely absorbed (about 15 minutes).
While the pilaf is cooking, heat the olive oil in a pan and stir in the onion slices. Over a medium heat, cook the onion slices for about 15 minutes until they start to get caramelized, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve the bulgur and green lentils pilaf with the caramelized onion slices over the top. Spicy pickled peppers or a green salad with a sharp lemon juice and olive oil dressing would go really well with the pilaf. Cacik dip of yoghurt with cucumbers and garlic is also lovely with this wholesome meal.