Years ago when I lived in North London we used to regularly make pilgrimages down to green lanes where there were plenty of Turkish restaurants and when there we’d typically order some various starters which were all of exceptional quality maybe a Lahmashun and then when it came to Kebab time you’d either be served your meat with a salad and some big grain rice or with a tomato infused bulgur wheat it was random what you got because many waiters had quite basic English.

For a long time Green Lanes was the only place I could get Tomato Bulghur but then of course there is Istanbul, Fethiye, Samsun, Edirne and many thousands of other places in Turkey, and of course here in Tbilisi around Marjanishvili good Turkish Restaurants will make this dish which is mainly served as a side.

Why the huge interest in Tomato Bulgur? Well — there seems to be this interesting form of Umami generated when you cook it and also it makes a delightful winter comfort food. Through experimentation I have come up with a simple recipe that will deliver you pleasure in less than 20 mins. As it’s Georgian Old New Year I thought it’s presents time but we don’t yet have enough wine to share — so it will have to be a recipe instead:

This is my version — so if you’re a Turkish Chef feel free to tell me this is not how it’s done ;-)

Ingredients:

1 medium Onion

250g Bulghur Wheat

1 400g can of chopped tomatoes!

Or 400g of chopped onions

1 glass of white wine (optional)

1 dessert spoon sugar (10g)

1 teaspoon salt (5g)

Kettle full of boiling water

15ml Olive Oil (also a bit of butter — optional)

Parsley

1 large frying pan with a lid

Method:

Fill the kettle & boil water

At the same time chop the onion very finely

Heat the pan on a medium heat

Add olive oil

Add salt

Fry onions till clear

Add sugar

Fry onions turning rapidly to caramelise

Once you see the onions get good colour add bulgur wheat

Add your tomatoes

(Add wine before water is added)

If you use a tin measure 400ml water to add

Add another half can of water — 200ml

Cover and simmer for 15 mins

Chop parsley

To serve as shown use a teacup, load it with bulgur and press

Invert on plate and add parsley

You may also like a twist of lemon or some parmesan cheese

English. Lives in Tbilisi. Contributor to Renegade Inc. Loves channeling ideas and serving good coffee.