Bulgur wheat is a cracked wheat made by blanching groats (the hulled kernels of the grains) which are then crushed into smaller fragments. It’s commonly used in Middle Eastern dishes such as stews and salads (like tabbouleh), or simmered in milk for a pudding or porridge. It can also be added to breads or mixed with mince and shaped into balls known as kibbeh. Take some inspiration from our top bulgur wheat recipes.
Do you have to wash bulgur wheat before cooking?
It’s not necessary to wash bulgur wheat before cooking, although some recipes do call for rinsing if you don’t drain the bulgur after it’s been cooked.
Do you need to soak bulgur wheat?
You can soak bulgur in boiling water to cook it, but you don’t need to soak it before cooking if you’re adding it to a dish.
How to cook bulgur wheat
Boil bulgur wheat in water for 10-15 mins, or put in a heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to soak for 20-30 mins, until the water is absorbed and the grains are tender. Soaking the bulgur will give you a chewier texture, which is perfect for salads like tabbouleh. It can also be boiled from raw in soups and stews.
Basic cooking method:
- Put the bulgur wheat into a heatproof bowl.
- Pour over a kettle of boiling water, covering the grains in about 2-3cm.
- Cover the bowl with a plate or tea towel, and leave to soak for 20-30 mins until all the water is absorbed. (You could also use stock for more flavour).
- Separate the grains and fluff with a fork, then toss into salads or serve alongside other dishes.
How do you know when bulgur wheat is cooked?
Bulgur wheat, like rice, is a hard grain that softens when cooked. It should have a slight bite and chewy texture if you’re using it in salads. Or, cook until completely soft for use in porridges. If you’ve soaked the bulgur wheat and it’s still too firm once all the water has been absorbed, simply add a splash more boiling water and leave for a few extra minutes, or microwave to fully steam the grains.
What are the health benefits of bulgur wheat?
Bulgur wheat is a source of magnesium, manganese, vitamin B and iron. It’s also high in fibre as it’s made from a whole grain. It contain gluten, so should be avoided by people with coeliac disease.
Our top 5 bulgur wheat recipes
1. Harissa-spiced chicken with bulgur wheat
2. Charred aubergine, pepper & bulgur salad
3. Pork & bulgur-stuffed peppers
4. Curried pork bulgur salad
5. Kale & bulgur tabbouleh with yogurt dressing
Want to learn more cookery techniques? Read our expert guides…
What’s your favourite bulgur wheat recipe? Leave a comment below…