Sunday, April 10, 2011

Grains Three Ways: Bulgur

According to Wikipedia, bulgur is a cereal made from wheat. The grains of wheat have there bran partially removed and are parboiled (that is, partially cooked).

I have to say, bulgur was a surprise. I took it on for this project mostly because I happened to have some. I don't know where I got the idea, but I thought of bulgur as being rough and unpleasant, like some sort of allegedly-edible cleaning product. I don't happen to care for tabbouleh, the Middle-Eastern salad in which Americans are most likely to encounter bulgur, but my distaste has nothing to do with the texture of the grain itself.

However, when I cooked some bulgur up in my rice cooker with a little bit of oil, the result was light and fluffy. I've enjoyed putting some of the result in the bottom of a bowl with some meat and veggies on top of it. (Attention KFC: that's what a bowl should be.)

(I don't believe I've mentioned that I'm taking the directions for cooking my grains in my rice cooker from "The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook, written by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann. The rice cooker can be an amazingly versatile tool, and this is an excellent guide to it's capabilities.)

My second dish was "Bulgur Pudding with Candied Ginger and Figs". Forget any idea you may have had this "pudding" means it will be smooth and silky: if you're like me, you can forget any idea that it's like anything else you've ever eaten. It's sweet, and fruity, and crunchy, and thick, and substantial, and savory. Amazing stuff. The recipe says it's 32g carbs per serving: if the serving size is more than a couple of tablespoons, I wonder a bit about that. If I make it again, I'll use a little bit less dried fruit and cut the figs into somewhat smaller pieces.

My third bulgur recipe was "". Gazpacho is a tomato soup of Spanish origin and is served cold. I've wanted to try it both because it's really tasty and also to have something else I can eat during the hot and humid summers where I live. (For about four months, all I usually want to eat is bologna sandwiches and cold pizza. This year HAS to be different.)

Unfortunately, something went seriously wrong with my gazpacho: it's delicious -- fresh and tomato-ey and fully flavored -- but it's not soup. Essentially all the liquid in the recipe was absorbed by the bulgur as it cooked. I can think of a couple of things I might have done wrong, but doing those things differently would not have added enough moisture to call it a soup. But the comments on the recipe don't mention this issue at all. As the King of Siam might have said, it's a puzzlement. But it's a very tasty puzzlement.

Next grain in the project: brown rice. After that, I'll probably have several posts in a row about grains many people have never heard of.

(This is the third grain covered in my "Grains Three Ways" project, described here. I have previously written about and quinoa.)


  1. I'm excited about these posts! I eat a lot of whole grains, I've discovered some pretty interesting new grains in the Whole Foods bins which I usually just cook in broth and then add meat/veggies on top, so I'm looking forward to new ideas!

  2. Oh how I love these posts too!!! It's funny, I just came across a recipe that called for bulgur wheat. I wasn't really sure what it was and had planned to just use brown rice instead. But I'll put the bulgur on my shopping list and give it a try!


Creative Commons License
T Minus Two by Bob Pedersen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.