Back in January, we did a recipe for the classic Turkish dolma recipe, biber dolması. In that recipe, green bell peppers are stuffed with a rice filling and then simmered until the peppers are soft.
Well, as we’re such big fans of stuffed peppers, we thought we’d share another recipe for them, except this time, the peppers will be baked and the filling will be fine bulgur wheat rather than rice. This is the same type of bulgur that is used in dishes such as Turkish kısır and mercimek köftesi.
Turkish Recipe For Fırında Bulgurlu Biber Dolması
This recipe makes seven bell peppers. You can either cut the peppers in half, lengthways, and serve them open (as in the photo above) or you can cut off their lids, stuff them with the bulgur filling and bake them whole.
We did a mixture of both. Either way, scoop out and discard the seeds from the peppers.
For The Filling
We’re going for an Eastern flavour for this filling so it contains pine nuts, dried fruit and spices.
- First of all, toast a small handful of pine nuts, a pinch of cumin seeds, a pinch of coriander seeds and a couple of cardamom pods. You can do this by putting them in a pan over a low heat. Keep swirling them round and when they start to release their aromas, remove them from the heat.
- Separate the pine nuts from the spices and keep to one side for the moment. Smash the rest of the spices with a pestle and mortar and discard the pods from the cardamom.
- Heat a generous glug of olive oil in a pan. Chop a medium-sized onion and a medium-sized aubergine and add to the oil. Saute them for a few minutes until they begin to soften.
- Deseed a medium-sized tomato and add that to the onion and aubergine along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute for a couple of minutes. You want the tomato to stay firm.
- Remove from the heat, add the smashed spices, pine nuts and a small handful of chopped, dried fruit. (Image 1) We used dates but sun-dried figs would be good, too.
- Fill a coffee mug with fine bulgur wheat until it’s roughly three quarters full. Add it to a large bowl and now fill the same mug with boiling water and a dessert spoonful of biber salçası (this is red pepper paste but you can use tomato puree if you can’t get pepper paste).
- Stir until the salça has mixed in and pour over the bulgur wheat. Cover with a tea towel until all the water is absorbed by the bulgur. (Image 2).
- Once the water is absorbed (about 5 minutes), add a drizzle of olive oil and fluff your bulgur up with a fork. (Image 3).
- Now mix the bulgur with your mixture. Add a few freshly chopped parsley leaves and a sprinkling of dried mint. Season to taste. (Image 4)
For The Peppers
Now it’s time to add the filling to your peppers. Begin by preheating the oven to 220 degrees.
And, while the oven is warming up, add the filling to your peppers and place them carefully onto an oven tray.
Drizzle with a generous coating of olive oil and place them in the oven for around 30 minutes until the peppers soften. (Even better if they get a bit charred here and there).
Serve your peppers warm or cold with a side of natural Turkish yoghurt. Fırında bulgurlu biber dolması also make a tasty contribution to your meze table, as a side to grilled meats.