Bulgur It is not exactly an ingredient that has just arrived in our markets and businesses. Despite this, something still goes unnoticed in the most everyday shopping cart, and it takes a bit of time to vindicate itself in the face of the comfort of couscous, quinoa or the familiarity of rice. Before launching into experimenting with it, we must start with the basics: How is bulgur cooked?
What is bulgur
Reviewing elementary theory never hurts as the first step prior to lighting any stove. Bulgur is the name given to a specific way of processing and presenting wheat grains, easier and faster to cook than whole grain cereal, but less processed than couscous, also made from the same cereal.
Bulgur, more specifically, is whole wheat that retains much of its outer layers, split to shrink and partially precooked. Depending on the brand, it can be more refined or with a more or less thick thickness, although in general a regular and common standard gauge is maintained, the typical one used to make, for example, tabbouleh or traditional tabouleh.
Therefore, it is a vegetable food, with gluten, with high fiber content and that it also provides plant proteins, B vitamins and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus or iron. It is energetic, rich in carbohydrates, but these are complex and slow-release, which promote satiety and avoid spikes in blood sugar.
Although there are other natural products made from wheat, when we talk about bulgur we refer specifically to the whole grains, cracked and precooked, thus differentiating itself from 100% whole wheat, tender wheat or couscous.
How to cook and prepare bulgur
We have already mentioned that bulgur can present slight variations depending on the brand or producer, so it is always important read the indications well of the package that we are going to acquire, or consult the seller in the case of bulk stores.
In general, bulgur requires short cooking, similar to parboiled or long grain rice, differing from couscous that only needs to be rehydrated very briefly. Is calculated twice the volume of water or broth than bulgur, about 1 250 ml cup to serve 2-4 people, depending on the recipe.
There are two options: cook it covered over very low heat about 12 minutes, leaving it uncovered for another 10 minutes off the heat to lose all the moisture, or simply keep it covered with the freshly boiled water until it is tender and without a trace of liquid.
The simple alternative route is to bring to a boil plenty of salty water, cook the bulgur until it is to the desired point, and drain it like pasta. With this method there is no risk of falling short or going over liquid. Remember that the proportions and times may vary depending on the size of the grains.
Heat the water or broth in a wide pot, casserole, or medium-sized saucepan, adding salt to taste if using only water. Once it’s boiling with joy, add the bulgur, stir, lower the heat to a minimum and cover.
Cook for the time indicated on the package, or about 15 minutes maximum. Uncover and check the point of the wheat, stirring with a fork. Let stand uncovered for a few more minutes if necessary, with the fire off. Let cool or use at convenience.
Recipes and dishes to use bulgur
Once cooked to the point and properly drained, the bulgur can be used as if it were any other grain or cereal. It is much tastier than plain cooked rice, and also than couscous or quinoa, usually more bland if it is not seasoned or accompanied well.
We recommend leaving the bulgur as much al dente possible, to better preserve that slightly crunchy texture and a better flavor reminiscent of nuts. Thus, in addition, we can sauté it, bake it or incorporate it into stews, soups and stewsAlthough it is also possible to add it directly to these casseroles raw, to cook it with the broth and the other ingredients.
It is a great product to season and combine with spices and herbs of all kinds, thus becoming a good garnish, very versatile, or a base for cold and warm salads. The traditional tabouleh is the most popular dish, but we can add all kinds of ingredients to taste, whether they are Arab or Asian, Mediterranean or Latin inspired.
Being tastier, more nutritious and with better texture than other grains, we really like to use it to stuff vegetables, especially if they are big like some aubergines or peppers. It combines wonderfully with legumes, thus adding vegetable proteins that turn the vegetarian dish into a nutritionally very complete meal, and it is also ideal to form doughs in the style of meatballs, pancakes, medallions or vegan burgers.
Another interesting way to try it is to substitute oat flakes when porridge or porridge style, hot or cold, with nuts, yogurt, fresh fruit, cinnamon or vanilla, milk or vegetable drink, etc.
Photos | Marco Verch – ajay_suresh – Meal makeovers moms – bluumwezi – arehana
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