Turkish Food – A Kısır Recipe

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 I’ve written about other Turkish foods in the past, I think I’ve said that a particular dish is my favourite. (Maybe when I wrote about Antalya Usulü Piyaz). Well, I’ll just have to have more than one favourite because both of us love kısır.

I always make a ridiculous amount for just the two of us – it lasts in the fridge for a few days so we always get through it and we’re sorry when it’s gone.I first came across kısır in Turkish recipe books but I wasn’t over keen on the outcome. I’ve since found out that – as with lots of other Turkish food – it’s made differently in different regions of Turkey and I had made an Eastern version with a lot of tomato paste. The only restaurant I know that serves kısır in Fethiye is Mozaik Bahçe (the best restaurant in Fethiye in our opinion but closed for winter at the minute) and as they specialise in food from the Hatay region of Turkey, their kısır is the version I made – but much more edible!

Turkish kisir

Far too much kısır for two people

A Turkish Recipe for Kısır

And so this is the version I make now and, as with the mücver recipe, it’s amazing how so little effort can produce such amazing food. We make it when we have friends over for barbecues so you can reduce quantities if it’s just for two of you. And again, as with the Turkish mücver recipe, I got it from Almost Turkish Recipes but I change it a little. Don’t be put off from making it if you can’t get hold of any nar ekşisi (sour pomegranate sauce). Lemon is fine. If you’re in Turkey, you can get sour pomegranate sauce from the supermarket or local shops and if you’re lucky enough to know someone who makes it – great! The real thing made a big difference to my kısır. I also use tomato paste rather then red pepper paste because I prefer the flavour. It’s sweeter.

  • Pour 1 cup of fine bulgur wheat in a bowl (we use a coffee mug).
  • Melt a couple of spoonfuls of tomato paste in 2 cups of hot water, pour it over the bulgur and leave for 10 minutes or so to go soft. (It’s traditional to use red pepper paste but I know this is nigh on impossible to get hold of in Britain and probably other countries – and I prefer the flavour of tomato paste in kısır).
  • Chop a bunch of spring onions, a cucumber and a couple of red peppers and put in a large serving bowl. De-seed and chop a couple of tomatoes and throw these in as well. (It’s worth taking the time to get rid of the seeds then you’re just left with the ‘meaty’ bit of the tomato and not the juices).
  • Fork through your bulgur adding a little olive oil as you go and then pour it all in your serving bowl and give it a good mix.
  • Chop a bunch of parsley and add it to your mixture. (We’re not big parsley fans and I thought this was going to be far too much at first but it works.)
  • Add salt, a pinch of mint and chilli flakes and mix those in. (I’m not saying how much exactly because it’s up to you – make it to your taste).
  • Add a couple of tablespoonfuls of nar ekşisi (pomegranate molasses) and / or the juice of half a lemon. Taste it to check how much lemon you need.

Kısır goes really well with grilled meats – especially lamb. Turkish people also eat it as a meze on a bed of lettuce and me, I eat a spoonful whenever I go in the fridge.

Afiyet Olsun!


  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?

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