There’s something really satisfying about cooking with edible wild plants – that knowledge of eating something that has just sprung up at the side of the road, in a meadow, a forest or in the mountains. No one planted it or cultivated it; the seed just came to be there, and, as it starts to grow, an edible wild food is born.
If you know your stuff and have a good knowledge of edible weeds and wild plants, you can of course take yourself off foraging and get yourself a nice little feast. Lots of our Turkish friends do this (that’s how our wild radish leaf salad came about) and occasionally they offer us some of their spoils. And then there’s us; we’re more than happy to let local people do the foraging for us. We buy our edible wild plants from places like Fethiye market because we like to work on the assumption that those people know far more than we ever will about such matters!
Edible Wild Plants Recipes – It’s Çiriş Season
We’ve told you all about çiriş otu before so we’ll not repeat ourselves here, but, by the time we’d spoken to a chef friend about them, last year, it was already too late and the very short çiriş season was over…and so we’ve waited patiently until now to experiment with çiriş recipes.
Depending on how mild or harsh the winter has been in the yayla (the hills and hanging valleys) around Fethiye, the season for çiriş is roughly March or April as the snow starts to melt. Well, we can see with our own eyes that the snow is melting…so, last Sunday at Çalış market, we kept our eyes peeled for these edible wild plants, determined to cook with them and add to our little portfolio of Turkish dishes. As you can see in the photo above – we spotted some!
A Recipe For Wild Foxtail Lily With Bulgur Wheat
Let’s give it its Turkish name, shall we? Bulgurlu Çiriş Otu Yemeği. Because it seems that when it comes to edible wild plants recipes, us Brits are not too hot on eating these shoots – but in Turkey, there are recipes galore. And so there should be. It’s a really tasty ingredient and also good for you, too.
We started off with a recipe using bulgur wheat because that’s also a really well-used Turkish ingredient and also a good healthy option. The tomato bulgur pilaf dish is perhaps one of the most famous – but bulgur wheat is also often used to fill out vegetarian dishes like this.
So, now we’ve got our hands on these edible wild plants, let’s make bulgurlu çiriş otu yemeği.
- ½ kilo çiriş otu washed and chopped into pieces around 3cm long
- 1 handful coarse bulgur wheat (pilavlık)
- 1 medium-sized onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 tbsp salça (tomato paste)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper to season
- In a deep saucepan, gently heat the olive oil and add your onions.
- Stir around until the onions start to sweat and then add your bulgur wheat.
- Keep stirring over low heat for around 5 minutes so that your bulgur wheat begins to soften but doesn't stick to the pan.
- Now stir in your salça (tomato paste) and a pinch of salt and pepper
- Immediately add your çiriş otu and 2-3 cups of hot water.
- Give it all a stir around, bring to the boil and then place a lid on your pan and reduce the heat.
- Let it simmer for 10-15 minutes until your bulgur wheat is cooked through.
- Remove from the heat and serve luke warm or at room temperature.
Bulgurlu çiriş otu yemeği is very tasty with some natural yoghurt drizzled over the top.
And that’s how we make bulgurlu çiriş otu yemeği; our first ever çiris recipe and our second edible wild plants recipe. This is the sort of wholesome food that you get in lokantas such as Seçkin Restaurant and Yeşil Asma Yaprağı in Fethiye, and you know what they do in places like this, don’t you…well you drizzle a load of natural Turkish yoghurt all over the top of it. Yummy!
Let your dish get to around room temperature and drizzle the natural yoghurt over. Then you can either eat everything up as it is or you can grill some chicken or barbecue some köfte and use your bulgurlu çiriş otu yemeği as a side serving.
If you’re wondering how on earth you can make this Turkish edible wild plants recipe at home when you can’t get your hands on çiriş, never fear, there are alternatives. A similar taste and texture is the green ‘leafy’ bit at the top of leeks. You can also use the green stems of spring onion, too.
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