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The Independent Culture
T is for Turkey where cracked wheat or bulgur is one of the healthy staples, a good base for a refreshing summer salad. It is also used for pilaff.


Serves 4

5oz bulgur or cracked wheat

1/4 pt water, lukewarm

6 to 8 spring onions, finely chopped

1lb ripe tomatoes, skinned, chopped

1/2 green pepper, deseeded, chopped

handful of parsley, finely chopped

juice of 1/2 lemon

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

Put the bulgur in a bowl with the salt and pour over the water. Cover and leave for 15 mins. With a wooden spoon, mix in onion well, then oil, lemon juice, tomatoes, green pepper and parsley. Add more salt if necessary. Chill for at least half an hour.

Bulgur can also be cooked as a pilaff, as you'd cook a risotto. Allow 1/2 lb bulgur to serve 4. In a large frying pan, melt 2oz butter (or 2 tablespoons vegetable oil) and fry a finely chopped onion over a low heat till soft but not brown. Toss in a sliced green pepper. Then stir in the bulgur, cooking till the fat is absorbed. Add a tin of tomatoes, chopped and drained. Then pour 1pt boiling stock on top, and cook over medium heat till all the liquid is absorbed (10 to 15 mins). Cover with a lid, using foil to make a tight seal, and put on lowest heat for 20 mins more to cook in its own steam. Stir half-way through to prevent sticking.