How to Cook Bulgur Wheat: Basic Guide and 3 Easy Recipes

Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay – Sulux32

Bulgur wheat can be served hot or cold, and is an essential ingredient in many delicious dishes. We’ll share some basic tips on how to cook bulgur wheat, and give you a few tasty recipes to try out at home. 

What exactly is bulgur, anyway? Bulgur wheat is a whole wheat product that is made from cracked and parboiled wheat grain (as opposed to, say, wheat berries, which are whole and uncooked wheat). Despite being literally cracked, bulgur is still considered a whole grain (riddle me that) and contains lots of vitamins, minerals, plant-based antioxidants and phytonutrients.

We’ll show you how to cook bulgur wheat. But please remember: bulgur is still wheat, which means if you are on a gluten-free diet, this isn’t for you.

Read on: Healthy Grocery List: 6 Unhealthy Foods to Cross Out

Cooking Bulgur: Basic Preparation

wheat berries
Wheat berries like these are milled and parboiled to make bulgur. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay – Klaber)

Bulgur has been a staple of Indian, Turkish, and Middle Eastern cuisine for centuries, but as Americans look to expand their grain-eating horizons, it has been gaining mainstream popularity in the United States. 

Sometimes, bulgur and cracked wheat get labelled interchangeably, but they are slightly different. True bulgur is milled raw wheat berries that have been parboiled, and so cooking bulgur is very quickly. Cracked wheat is simply milled raw wheat berries that haven’t been parboiled, and will take a bit longer to cook. Check the packaging carefully before purchasing, so you know which one you have. 

How to Cook Bulgur Wheat: Cooking bulgur could not be easier.

  1. You’ll need to use about one and a half to twice as much boiling water as bulgur. For example, you’ll need just under two cups of boiling water for one cup of bulgur.
  2. Pour the boiling water over the bulgur in a small pot.
  3. Cover and let stand for about 15 minutes.
  4. Done.

Cooking Cracked Wheat: If you have cracked wheat on your hands instead of bulgur, not to worry, it’s still super easy to make.

  1. Wash the wheat in a sieve until the water runs clear.
  2. Transfer to a pot and pour boiling water over the wheat, using twice as much water as bulgur.
  3. Cover and let sit for about 25-30 minutes. 

Note: Bulgur comes in different sizes, from quite coarse to very fine. If you’re cooking bulgur that is very coarse, boil over high heat for a few minutes first, before turning the heat off and letting it stand. Fine bulgur is the classic version, and should never be boiled on the stove. Coarse bulgur is ideal for salads, while fine bulgur is the better choice to be served as a side dish or used for making bulgur kofta. 

Tip: Fine bulgur wheat can also be prepared in cold water, but this will take a few hours. Alternatively, you could let the bulgur soak overnight. 

How to Cook Bulgur Wheat: Tips & Recipes

cooking bulgur
Bulgur Kofta (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay – Flomo001)

How to Season Bulgur:

To make your bulgur especially delicious, toast it in a pan with a bit of olive oil and spices like cardamom, cumin, and cinnamon before soaking. To add even more flavor, try using hot vegetable broth instead of water when cooking the bulgur. 

Bulgur Salad

  1. Pour 3 cups of boiling water or broth over 2 cups of bulgur. 
  2. Add a half pound of diced tomatoes, two small chopped onions, a tablespoon of tomato paste, and a bit of olive oil to the pot. Stir, and let sit until the bulgur is soft. 
  3. Finish by seasoning with cardamom, salt, paprika, and fresh herbs. 

Bulgur Kofta

  1. Prepare 3 cups of fine bulgur with broth. 
  2. As the bulgur is soaking, sauté three diced onions, three diced tomatoes, and three spring onions in olive oil. 
  3. Season the finished bulgur with mint, cumin, chili, and salt and add the sautéed mixture. 
  4. Knead into a dough, using tomato paste if necessary to help it stick. 
  5. Use your hands to form small balls. Roll the balls in parsley or other herbs, and serve. 

Italian Bulgur Casserole

  1. Prepare 4 cups of bulgur in broth. 
  2. Dice three onions, three tomatoes, three cloves of garlic and one zucchini. Sauté in olive oil with tomato paste. 
  3. Mix the sautéed vegetables with the bulgur and season with salt, herb de Provence, and fresh basil.
  4. Add the mixture to a baking dish and spread out evenly. Sprinkle 300g (about 10oz) of goat cheese on top and bake for about 20 minutes at 350°F with convection. Preheating is not necessary. 

This post was translated from German to English by Christie Sacco. You can read the original here: Bulgur kochen: So kannst du den Weizengries zubereiten

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