We are very grateful to Claudia Roden for sharing with WimShul Cooks her “Bazargan”, a recipe for a bulgur salad. We like Simon Schama’s description of the author of ‘The Book of Jewish Food’: “Claudia Roden is no more a simple cookbook writer than Marcel Proust was a biscuit baker. She is, rather, memorialist, historian, ethnographer, anthropologist, essayist, poet .” Thank you, Claudia.
This bulgur salad is of the Jews of Aleppo. The name implies it was made entirely from ingredients bought at the spice bazaar.
Sour pomegranate syrup and tamarind give the grain (burghul or bulgur) a delicious sweet-and-sour flavour and lovely brown colour. Use a coarsely ground cracked wheat if you can, but a fine ground one will do. Make it at least 4 hours before serving so that the wheat can properly absorb the dressing.
Serves 6 – 8
- 350g bulgur
- 175 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons sour pomegranate concentrate or molasses (it is a syrup) or 2 tablespoons tamarind paste dissolved in 4 tablespoons boiling water
- The juice of 1 lemon
- 5 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne or chilli pepper, or more to taste
- 150g walnuts, very coarsely chopped
- 100g hazelnuts, very coarsely chopped
- 50g pine nuts, lightly toasted
- A large bunch of flat-leafed parsley (1 cup), finely chopped
Put the bulgur in a large bowl and cover with plenty of cold water. Leave to soak until it is tender. The time depends on how finely ground it is and how old. It can take from 1/2 – 2 hours. Drain in a colander with small holes and press the excess water out.
In a serving bowl, beat the olive oil with the pomegranate concentrate or molasses or dissolved tamarind paste. Add the lemon juice, tomato paste, cumin, coriander, allspice and cayenne pepper and salt and beat well. Pour over the cracked wheat and mix very well. Taste before you add more salt if necessary.
Before serving add the nuts and flat-leafed parsley and mix well.