Favourite Meze Dishes? Kısır Is There For Us

When is tabbouleh not tabbouleh?

Answer: When it is a Turkish dish made with slightly different ingredients and called kısır. Kısır is made from the fine bulgur wheat (cracked wheat). When we’ve written about other Turkish meze recipes, we’ve no doubt said a particular dish is a favourite – Antalya Usulü Piyaz, or spicy Antep Ezmesi, for instance – well, we’ll just have to have more than one favourite because both of us love kısır.

We both have recipes that we take charge of in our house – our kitchen really isn’t big enough for the two of us so it’s a system that works well – and kısır is the one I always love to make. I always make a ridiculous amount because, when we embark on making a feast of meze dishes, it’s usually in the hope of filling an army of friends we’ve cajoled along for a barbecue. And the thing is with kısır, even if there are leftovers, it lasts in the fridge for a few days so we always get through it and we’re still sorry when it’s gone.

A Kısır Recipe

Your healthy, fresh kısır before the olive oil and nar ekşisi is added

We first came across kısır in Turkish recipe books but whenever I made it, I wasn’t really keen on the outcome. We both love bulgur wheat but the kısır was never quite to our taste. Of course, over the years, we’ve asked around, seen more recipes and – as with lots of other Turkish recipes – we’ve discovered it’s made differently in different regions of Turkey.

The version I had been making in the early days was a kısır from East Turkey where a rather large dose of salça (tomato paste) is a part of the mixture – and it wasn’t a particularly good ratio for our tastebuds. (We should say at this point that Mozaik Bahçe restaurant in Fethiye specialise in food from the Hatay region of Turkey and they serve kısır made the East Turkey way – theirs is perfectly lovely; I was clearly doing something wrong!)

A Turkish Kısır Recipe

And so this is the version I make now. It’s a more West Turkey version and we love the flavours in it. One of those flavours is nar ekşisi (a sour pomegranate sauce) but don’t be put off if you haven’t got access to that; a good dose of tangy fresh lemon juice is fine.

A Turkish Kısır Recipe

Put a spoonful of kısır onto a lettuce leaf, wrap and eat. Yummy!

If you’re in Turkey, you can get nar ekşisi from the supermarket, local shops or the markets – and if you’re lucky enough to know someone who makes it; wonderful! There’s nothing like homemade foodie goodies! I also alternate between tomato paste (domates salçası) and red pepper paste (biber salçası) depending on mood. Tomato paste is slightly richer and sweeter but has a more dense texture, whereas biber salçası is lighter and more loose in texture.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Kısır - Turkish Bulgur Wheat Salad
 
Author:
Recipe type: Meze
Cuisine: Turkish
Serves: 4-6
Prep time:
Total time:
 
A light bulgur wheat salad perfect for summer and packed with zingy flavour
Ingredients
  • 1 (coffee) mugful of fine bulgur wheat
  • 2 tomatoes, deseeded and cut into small chunks
  • 1 bunch of spring onions, trimmed, cleaned and chopped into small pieces
  • 1 cucumber, centre removed and finely chopped
  • 1 red capsicum pepper, deseeded and chopped into small pieces
  • ½ bunch flat leaf parsley, stems removed and finely chopped
  • 2 dessert spoonfuls of tomato or red pepper paste
  • 2 tablespoonfuls olive oil
  • 1 tablespoonful nar ekşisi
  • Juice of half fresh lemon
  • 1 teaspoonful dried mint
  • 1 pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Pour the bulgur wheat into a bowl (the bulgur will expand so make sure the raw bulgur only fills round half of the bowl).
  2. Meanwhile, boil some water and dissolve the salça in 2 cupfuls of boiling water.
  3. Pour over the bulgur wheat and cover tightly with a clean tea towel or cloth for 10 minutes or so until the bulgur wheat goes soft throughout.
  4. Take a large serving bowl and add the spring onion, chopped red pepper and cucumber.
  5. Check the bulgur wheat is soft, fork through it to fluff it up and add to the salads in the bowl.
  6. Now add the parsley.
  7. Add salt, mint and chilli flakes (chilli flakes are optional).
  8. Mix it all together.
  9. Now add the lemon juice, nar ekşisi and olive oil and mix again.
  10. Just before serving, mix in the tomato chunks.
Notes
Please note that all nutritional information is approximate values
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 6 Servings Calories: 650 Fat: 29 g Carbohydrates: 71 g Sugar: 2 g Fiber: 17 g Protein: 15 g

Kısır goes really well with grilled meats – especially lamb – and it’s a regular on our summer barbecue meze menu. Turkish people (and us) also eat it as a snack on a bed of leafy lettuce…and we’ll admit to always eating a sneaky spoonful whenever we go in the fridge.

For more Turkish recipes, give this book a whirl…

Comments

  1. Bet you thought you had lost your most avid reader for 2 weeks didn’t you, well where theres a will.
    Anyway I am going to try and make the spicy lentil soup today,got all the lovely fresh veg from the market yesterday so I will give it a bash.
    Might be on the phone to you if it all goes pear shaped though.
    Will let you know how I get on and might even force feed you some when we call round ha ha. x

  2. I love tabouleh but this turkish version is so much more filling and fresh, need to try it out soon

  3. Sarah, I prefer kisir to tabbouleh (hmm, or am I just being biased as usual?!) because of the fresh taste.

    Jan, ha ha. Good luck with the lentil soup. Even Barry’s mum can make it – and she’s no chef! Is Keith happy with lentil soup on his holidays??

  4. Soup is done and it is lovely.
    Keith doesn’t mind, he thinks everything I make is nice(bless him)
    so he will enjoy this for his lunch when he gets back from his annual trot around Fethiyes banks,water office,property tax etc. x

  5. What a coincidence! I started making that this morning. Spooky.

  6. Okay that’s it – another incredibly yummy looking dish – I must now leave your site before I die of anticipation! I will make this one, too!!

  7. Hi Julia!

    Wow as a turkish person, I am really impressed by your amazing recipes..!!! I cant belive it! simply wow!

    They all look soo delicious! You have a great taste! Kısır is one of the best food for lunch especially when women come together for gossip:)

    Since I met with a woman at dormitary from Hatay, I have always thought my mum prepares the best KISIR! But I definitely agree that KISIR from HATAY is amazingly delicious!

    I will start using your recipes 😉 You really know much and you have the original recepies!!!

  8. @ Anonymous: Wish we knew your name! :) Thanks for your comments. They’re very much appreciated.

    We love kısır and didn’t make it enough last summer so we’re looking forward to lots of meze preparation this summer! I’ll have to round up some ladies so we can all sit together to enjoy it. 😉

  9. Hi Julia!

    Oh I am really sorry that I simply chose the easiest way with anonymous :):):)

    I am sorry, my name is Çağla.

    After my exam which is an english language test for getting a master, I will have more time to write on your blog!

    Especially, I am planning to start cooking with your receipes next Sunday!! :)

    I will be following your MEZE receipes during your preparation!

  10. @ Çağla: Good luck with your exam and hope you enjoy the recipes… :)

  11. Merhaba Julia,
    I just love your blog..keep up the good work. Kisir definitely surpasses tabbouleh. I too got my recipe from burcu, except I cook the onions before hand.. Its a real twist and I know but just delicious

  12. Would it be possible to do a post on ramazan foods and what you would expect if invited at persons house in ramazan. Thanks again

  13. @ Nancy: Thank you for your comments and glad you like the blog. Yes, kısır definitely has the edge over tabbouleh for us, too. :) As for the Ramazan foods, we know a little bit about it but not too much as to be honest, not many of our friends are particularly religious. We’ll definitely ask the religious people we do know, though, and see if we can come up with a post. :)

  14. Hi Julia, I discovered your by blog after eating some Biber Dolmasi n I googled it and your blog popped up. I love Turkish cuisine and have already made Kisir n loved it.

    Keep up the good work, it’s an enjoyable blog.:D

  15. @ Marie: Thanks for the lovely comment! :) Nice to know we pop up in Google in the right places, too. Thanks for reading.

  16. Hi Julia,
    Your kisir looks lovely!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Does anybody know if fine bulgur wheat is available to buy in the UK. I am assuming this recipe works best with fine bulgur?

  18. Love kisir! It’s great in hot weather.

  19. It’s a +30C day here in western Canada and this made the perfect supper! Thanks for sharing the recipe – delicious on a hot day….actually the weather today brings to mind the heat when we stayed in Gokcebel last September. We had a week of +35-37C. Can’t wait to visit Turkey again!

    • Thanks a lot for your comment, Alanna, and yeah, the weather is similar here, too, so kısır will be just perfect. :) Hope you manage to get back to Turkey soon for more great Turkish food. :)

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