Recipes    

Turkish cuisine provides healthy, hearty, delicious food for family and friends.
Find out more

Cookery Classes

I teach Turkish cooking classes in England,Turkey & USA, hope you can join us!,
Find Out More

Tag Archives | bulgur

Bulgur pilaf with freekeh, aubergine, tomatoes – Firikli Sebzeli Bulgur Pilavi

I love freekeh’s nutty, smoky flavor – it used to feature at lot at my grandmother’s table in Antakya; she would combine freekeh with seasonal vegetables, meat or sometimes just with bulgur and fresh butter, which always tasted heavenly.

This dish is popular in southern Turkish cuisine, using the season’s bountiful tomatoes and aubergines / eggplant or patlican. The meaty aubergines and juicy tomatoes are a great match here with the wholegrains – a fantastic, all in one pot plant based dish. Locals in southern Turkey use the glorious, ripe tomatoes in this dish; I opted to use a good quality chopped can tomatoes as living abroad, it is not always easy to get ripe, sun kissed tomatoes. I did however use some sliced fresh tomatoes – as ripe as I could find- to decorate the top of this lovely dish, and it added extra freshness and flavour.

Some backround information on freekeh. Firik, (as in Turkish) or Freekeh (sometimes spelled frikeh)  or farik is a cereal  food made from green drum 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.

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. If you like to use a gluten-free option, you can replace bulgur with quinoa.

This is a bountiful dish and can easily feed 6 people or more. It also tastes great the next day and freezes well, so perfect for family meals or entertaining too. I also made another version of this Bulgur pilaf with aubergines, at my cookery book Ozlem’s Turkish Table (page 213), adding small chunks of meat there, if you fancy that version too. If you prefer not to use freekeh, you can omit and replace it with more bulgur here if you like. Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book is available at this link here and delivered worldwide, including the USA and Canada. You can also see ebook and other options here.

I hope you enjoy this delicious plant based recipe, Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

4.7 from 3 reviews
Bulgur pilaf with freekeh, aubergine, tomatoes – Firikli Sebzeli Bulgur Pilavi
 
This dish is popular in southern Turkish cuisine, using the season’s bountiful tomatoes and aubergines / eggplant or patlican. The meaty aubergines and juicy tomatoes are a great match here with the wholegrains - a fantastic, all in one pot plant based dish. Locals in southern Turkey use the glorious, ripe tomatoes in this dish; I opted to use a good quality chopped can tomatoes as living abroad, it is not always easy to get ripe, sun kissed tomatoes. I did however use some sliced fresh tomatoes – as ripe as I could find- to decorate the top of this lovely dish, and it added extra freshness and flavour.
Author:
Recipe type: Vegetarian, Vegan
Cuisine: Turkish
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 350g/12oz coarse bulgur, rinsed and drained
  • 110g/4oz freekeh, rinsed and drained
  • 3 medium aubergines, quartered and sliced in 1cm chunks
  • 2 medium onions, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 3 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • ½ tbsp. Turkish red pepper paste, biber salcasi
  • 15ml/1tbsp concentrated tomato paste
  • 400g/14oz (1 can of) chopped tomatoes in juice
  • 60ml/ 2fl oz olive oil – for baking the aubergines –
  • 30ml/2tbsp olive oil – for cooking-
  • 900ml / 1.6 pints hot water
  • 5ml/1tsp Turkish red pepper flakes, pul biber
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped – to decorate
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F
  2. First prepare the eggplants (aubergines). Cut the aubergine in quarters and then slice into 1cm with pieces. Layer the aubergine pieces on a tray and sprinkle salt over them, leave them aside for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, dry the aubergines with kitchen or paper towel thoroughly.
  3. Spread the aubergine slices in a baking tray and pour in the 60ml/2floz olive oil over them. Using your hands, make sure that all aubergine slices have a nice coating of the olive oil. Bake for about 30 - 35 minutes in the preheated oven at 200C / 400F. Aubergines will start to get crispy around the edges, a nice color and soften up (you can alternatively sauté your aubergines on a pan with olive oil, though I find the baking easier and healthier).
  4. Heat the 2tbsp/30ml olive oil in a heavy, wide pan and sauté the onions for 2-3 minutes, until soft and they begin to color. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, red pepper paste, can of chopped tomatoes, Turkish red pepper flakes, pul biber and combine well.
  5. Toss the sautéed aubergines to the pan and gently combine.
  6. Now stir in the rinsed bulgur and freekeh to the pan and mix well. Pour in the hot water and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, combine well. Reduce the heat to low for simmering.
  7. Place the tomato slices over the top, cover and cook for 30 minutes, until the liquid is evaporated and the grains are cooked (add a little more hot water if needed). Check the seasoning and add more salt and freshly ground black pepper to your taste. Turn the heat off. I like to rest the dish and settle the flavours for 10 minutes before serving.
  8. Serve with refreshing Shepherd’s Salad, Coban Salatasi and/or Cacik dip with cucumber and yoghurt aside.

Hands On Turkish Cookery Classes and events with Ozlem Warren in Fethiye and Kalkan, Turkey!

October 20th and 21st, 2020

I am so delighted to be returning to Fethiye – Turkey, for a series of Hands on Turkish cookery classes and events and do hope you can make one of these, if you are nearby Fethiye.

Hands on Turkish cookery class on Tuesday, October 20th, 9.30am – 1pm at Yakamoz Hotel – Fethiye

Baklava; image from Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book, by Sian Irvine Photography

Please join us for a scrumptious hands on Turkish cookery class (including how to make home made baklava!) on Tuesday, October 20th, 9.30am – 1pm at Yakamoz Hotel – Fethiye,  where we will cook a delicious menu from Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book together and then sit down and enjoy our creations at the Yakamoz Hotel’s beautiful grounds. Participation is limited, please visit my Cookery Classes page for all the details and registration.

If you like to join us at this fun and friendly hands on cookery class, please call Mehmet Yakamoz at +90 533 336 76 10 or email at yakamozone@hotmail.com to reserve your spot, participation is limited.

Turkish Style Lunch and Ozlem’s cookery demo and talk at Yakamoz Hotel, Fethiye 

Tuesday, October 20th; 1.30pm – 4pm

Potato and bulgur patties with pomegranate molasses, from my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table

Please join us for a scrumptions Turkish style lunch at Yakamoz Hotel, on Tuesday, October 20th; 1.30pm – 4pm. Ozlem Warren, author of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book will be with us too, to give a talk on Turkish cuisine and demonstrate how to make Potato and bulgur patties with pomegranate molasses and will sign her cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, if anyone would like to get a copy.

Ozlem’s Turkish Table book signing at Fethiye!

If you like to join us at this exciting event,  please call Mehmet Yakamoz at +90 533 336 76 10 or email at yakamozone@hotmail.com to reserve your spot, participation is limited. Please visit my Cookery Classes page for more information.

Ozlem’s Turkish Table Hands on Classes at Guru’s Place Cookery School, Kalkan – 

Wednesday, October 21st, 9.45am – 2pm

“Ozlem Warren, International cookery teacher and the author of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book, is delighted to be visiting Guru’s Place Cookery School in Kalkan, on Wednesday, October 21st, 9.45am – 2pm, to co-teach hands-on cookery classes, with Huseyin Kayir, owner of the Guru’s Place Cookery School, Kalkan. We will cook together delicious Turkish recipes from Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book and then we will all sit down and enjoy our cooking, with a glass of wine. If you’d like to join the class, please kindly book your place and get in touch with Guru’s Place Cookery School at gurusplace@hotmail.com or call +905363311016. Participation is limited. Please visit my Cookery Classes page for full details of the class.

Baked zucchini with feta, spring onions and dill, Firinda Mucver

Do hope to be able to enjoy Turkish cuisine together with you in Fethiye in October, Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Continue Reading

Ozlem’s Turkish Table; pumpkin recipes, book fair, cookery class

Merhaba dear All,

Beautiful still life from Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book coming up, by Sian Irvine Photography

Exciting times ahead, as we are almost there to start the pre-order for my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland, as of early November, please stay tuned! With a special tribute to my southern Turkish roots and family stories, this book has been lovingly written and prepared with beautiful images by Sian Irvine Photography, I really can’t wait to share with you all.

Here are a few special events coming up as well as delicious autumn/fall flavours, showcasing pumpkin and squash, I hope you enjoy it:

Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland is at Riverhouse Barn Book Fair, October 28th

One of the still life shots with my family photos, from my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland, coming up. Image credit: Sian Irvine Photography

I am delighted to be participating the Riverhouse Barn Book Fair in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England on Saturday, October 28th at 12 noon with GB Publishing. Together with other authors, I will be introducing my upcoming cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland and introducing southern Turkish cuisine, my roots, Antakya- Antioch, with Turkish delights for everyone! Hope you can join us for a wonderful literary themed weekend.

A Turkish Festive Table cookery class with Ozlem Warren, Divertimenti Cookery School – London, Hands On Masterclass – Saturday, December 2nd

Radish salad with tahini sauce, image credit: Sian Irvine photography

Antakya’s traybake kebab, tepsi kebabi, will be a part of our cookery class on Dec. 2nd at Divertimenti cookery school. Image credit: Sian Irvine Photography

Please join us on Saturday, December 2nd, from 11 am to 2.30 pm for a festive class, as I will be sharing Southern Turkish specialties from my upcoming cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland. With a tribute to my roots, you will prepare authentic Southern Turkish flavours as you cook alongside with us. Recipes include ‘Tahini Bread Rolls with Sesame Seeds’, ‘Muhammara’ (Walnut and red pepper paste dip), ‘Leafy Greens with Peppers, Pine nuts and Aleppo Pepper Flakes’, ‘Radish Salad with Tahini Sauce’, ‘Tepsi Kebabi’ (Traybake kebab with roasted vegetables), ‘Kunefe – Kadayifi’ (Pastry strands with melted cheese in light syrup) and Turkish coffee.

Price : £115

Participation is limited, please kindly book through Divertimenti Cookery School at this link

Leafy greens with pine nuts, pepper and onions, a delicious course at our Dec. 2nd cookery class, at Divertimenti

What I have been cooking lately…

Candied pumpkin dessert with walnuts, southern Turkish Style – Cevizli Kabak Tatlisi

Candied pumpkin dessert with walnuts; Cevizli Kabak Tatlisi

We all have pumpkins in our minds at this time of the year; I love its natural sweetness and comforting, luscious flavor. This scrumptious candied pumpkin dessert is popular in Turkey and it is so very easy to make. Pumpkin is baked here in its very own juice with sugar and the result is an exquisite dessert with the full flavor of pumpkin, also fancy enough to share with family and friends.

This lovely light dessert, Kabak Tatlisi, is wonderful served with crushed walnuts. In Turkey, it is also served with our thick clotted cream, kaymak. If you can’t get kaymak, clotted cream also complements this dessert well. Here’s the link to my candied pumpkin dessert with walnuts, Cevizli Kabak Tatlisi.

Bulgur meatballs with squash and chickpeas, in yoghurt and mint sauce

Bulgur meatballs with squash and chickpeas in yoghurt and dried mint sauce

Stews with yoghurt has a special place in southern Turkish cuisine. I recently re-created Gaziantep’s Stew with bulgur meatballs, in yoghurt and mint sauce – Yogurtlu, bulgurlu kofte -. The traditional recipe also has lamb in it, in my version I omitted the extra meat and added the seasonal squash to  the dish.  The chickpeas worked really well in the stew too; not only very healthy, but brought a different texture and wonderful flavor. The dish turned out to be a very satisfying  and substantial meal yet surprisingly light. Here’s my recipe for the Bulgur meatballs with squash and chickpeas, in yoghurt and mint sauce, I hope you enjoy it.

Happy autumn/fall and Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Continue Reading

Baked Zucchini (courgette) halves with vegetables and chickpeas (garbanzo beans) -Nohutlu Kabak Dolmasi

I previously made the delicious stuffed zucchini halves with ground meat, vegetables and chickpeas or garbanzo beans, inspired by my home town, Antioch’s (Antakya) cuisine. I was asked for a vegetarian version of this dish during my Turkish cookery class past Saturday and there came this delicious dish. The meaty mushrooms, onions, peppers made a scrumptious filling and worked so well with chickpeas. With a touch of heat by the Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi & Turkish red pepper flakes and the refreshing dried mint, we had an at least equally delicious vegetarian stuffed zucchini that we all very much enjoyed.

Stuffed zucchini with onions, mushrooms, pepper and chickpeas, in tomato sauce

Stuffed zucchini with onions, mushrooms, pepper and chickpeas, in tomato sauce

I also used a little pomegranate molasses, nar eksisi, to add a delicious sweet & sour taste to the zucchini halves. Pomegranate molasses is used a lot especially in Southern Turkish cuisine in salad dressings like in this Gavurdagi Salad of tomatoes, onions and walnuts or in bulgur wheat salad, kisir; a little bit of it adds a great punch.

You can prepare this healthy dish ahead of time and the leftovers freeze beautifully. Please save the flesh of the zucchini or courgettes that you scooped out. They are delicious & wholesome cooked with onions, tomatoes & dried mint in this bulgur pilaf .

Serves 4-6

Preparation time: 20 minutes                                                Cooking time: 50-55 minutes

3 chunky zucchini/courgette

200gr/7oz chestnut mushrooms, wiped clean and finely chopped

1 green bell pepper, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped

200gr/7oz (1/2 can of) chopped tomatoes

200gr/7oz (1/2 can of) cooked chickpeas, rinsed

15ml/1 tbsp. pomegranate molasses, nar eksisi (optional)

30ml/2tablespoons olive oil

240ml/8fl oz./ 1cup water

15ml/1 tbsp. tomato paste

5 ml / 1 tsp. Turkish red pepper paste – optional-

10ml/2 tsp. dried mint

5ml/1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

To serve:

120ml/8fl oz. plain yoghurt

1-2 garlic cloves, crushed with salt and finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4

carefully scoop out some of the flesh to create a cavity that is large enough to stuff

Carefully scoop out some of the flesh to create a cavity that is large enough to stuff

Cut the zucchini in half and then in lengthways. Using a dessert spoon, carefully scoop out some of the flesh to create a cavity that is large enough to stuff the filling (Please save the flesh of the zucchini that you scooped out. They are delicious cooked in bulgur pilaf). Mix 2 tbsp. water with the pomegranate molasses (if using) and wash the inside of the courgettes with this mixture; this adds a delicious sweet & sour taste to the zucchini.

Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) combined with vegetables make a delicious filling

Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) combined with vegetables make a delicious filling

Heat the oil in a heavy pan. Stir in the onions and garlic and cook until light golden. Add the mushrooms, bell pepper and hot pepper paste (if using). Season with salt and pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and the cooked chickpeas, mix well. Add the red pepper flakes and the dried mint, combine well. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes. Turn the heat off; the filling is ready.

Take a spoonful of the filling and stuff the zucchini halves.

Take a spoonful of the filling and stuff the zucchini halves.

Grease a baking tray with 1 tbsp. olive oil and place the scooped zucchini. Take a spoonful of the filling and stuff the zucchini halves, taking care not to over fill them. Dilute the tomato paste with the water and pour on the tray. Cover and bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes. After this, uncover and bake for a further 10 minutes for a lightly brown finish.

While the zucchini halves are baking, prepare your garlic yoghurt. In a bowl, mix the plain yoghurt with the chopped garlic. Serve the stuffed zucchini hot, with the garlic yoghurt by the side. You can make this wonderful bulgur pilaf using the flesh of the zucchini we scooped out; they complement each very nicely and you get a complete meal.

Baked zucchini halves with vegetables & chickpeas; great with garlic yoghurt aside

Baked zucchini halves with vegetables & chickpeas; great with garlic yoghurt aside

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Istanbul is Calling!

Turkish tea, Cay, Simit and Istanbul's Bosphorus; a heavenly combination

Turkish tea, Cay, Simit and Istanbul’s Bosphorus; a heavenly combination

Indeed Istanbul is calling and I can hardly wait! I will be in Istanbul next week, the city that makes my heart beats fast, a feast to all senses. Greatly looking forward to seeing family, friends and feeling the beat of this fascinating city.

The very atmospheric Spice Market, Misir Carsisi, Istanbul - feast to all senses

The very atmospheric Spice Market, Misir Carsisi, Istanbul – feast to all senses

I also very much look forward to sharing delicious Turkish cuisine with food lovers at my Turkish cookery class on Wednesday, 19th February at the Istanbul Culinary Institute. I will be in touch soon with delicious memories from home!

With my best wishes, Selamlar,

Ozlem

Continue Reading