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Favourite Meze Dishes? Kısır Is There For Us

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Question: When is tabbouleh not tabbouleh? Answer: When it is a Turkish bulgur salad dish made with slightly different ingredients and called kısır.

A circular bowl photographed from above. The bowl contains bulgur wheat, wedges of cherry tomatoes and sliced onions.
Kısır is very moreish

What Is 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.

Kısır Is Mine

We both have recipes that we take charge of in our house (Barry always makes Izmir Köfte and kızartma, for instance).

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 close up of the salad from above.
Make a large bowl of kısır so everyone can serve themselves

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.

East Turkey Kısır

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.

It wasn’t a particularly good ratio for our taste buds.

Serving Up

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.

Our 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.

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

Kısır Ingredients

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.

And as for the fresh tomatoes, we love to use whatever’s in season.

In winter, we use sweet cherry tomatoes cut in half.

The tomatoes you can see in our main photo are chocolate tomatoes found on the Fethiye Friday market in springtime.

A circular bowl photographed from above. The bowl contains bulgur wheat, wedges of cherry tomatoes and sliced onions.
5 from 1 vote

Kısır – Turkish Bulgur Wheat Salad Recipe

A light bulgur wheat salad perfect for summer and packed with zingy flavour
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Course Meze, Salad
Cuisine Turkish
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 430kcal
Author Turkey’s For Life


  • 1 coffee mug fine bulgur wheat
  • 2 tomatoes deseeded & cut into small chunks
  • 1 bunch spring onions trimmed, cleaned & chopped into small pieces
  • 1 cucumber centre removed & finely chopped
  • 1 red capsicum pepper deseeded & chopped into small pieces
  • ½ bunch flat leaf parsley stems removed & finely chopped
  • 2 dessert spoons tomato paste or red pepper paste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
  • ½ fresh lemon juiced
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • 1 pinch salt


  • Pour the bulgur wheat into a bowl (the bulgur will expand so make sure the raw bulgur only fills round half of the bowl).
  • Meanwhile, boil some water and dissolve the salça (tomato paste) in 2 cupfuls of boiling water.
  • 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.
  • Take a large serving bowl and add the spring onion, chopped red pepper and cucumber.
  • Check the bulgur wheat is soft, fork through it to fluff it up and add to the salads in the bowl.
  • Now add the parsley.
  • Add salt, mint and chilli flakes (chilli flakes are optional).
  • Mix it all together.
  • Now add the lemon juice, pomegranate molasses (nar ekşisi) and olive oil and mix again.
  • Just before serving, mix in the tomato chunks.


  • Please note that calories per serving are approximate


Serving: 6Calories: 430kcalCarbohydrates: 71gProtein: 15gFat: 29gFiber: 17gSugar: 2g
Tried this recipe?Please consider Leaving a Review!


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5 from 1 vote
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Monday 29th of June 2015

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!

Turkey's For Life

Monday 29th of June 2015

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. :)


Thursday 9th of January 2014

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

Turkey's For Life

Wednesday 24th of June 2015

Hi, yes, this is a recipe for fine bulgur wheat and you can buy it in UK supermarkets; it's often on the health food stands. :)

April Ozbilgin

Tuesday 2nd of April 2013

Hi Julia,Your kisir looks lovely!

Turkey's For Life

Wednesday 24th of June 2015

Sorry, April. Only just seen this comment, for some reason. Thank you very much, though. :)

Turkey's For Life

Monday 1st of April 2013

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


Saturday 16th of March 2013

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

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