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Prep: 55 minutes Cook:

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Serves 6

A most splendid and filling crunchy mint, parsley and bulgur wheat salad. Found all over the Middle East and Turkey where it is often served with skewered barbecued spicy meats and lashings of arak with ice. Only use fresh produce here, preferably procured from the market/Asian/Med Greengrocer. When it comes to the spices please don’t be tempted to replace with pre-packed powdered versions as this will spoil the ‘fresh’ taste of this glorious dish. (The pomegranates are optional, depending on availability and the season, but always try to include them as this lifts the salad to heights of amazingness). I was told this traditional dish was used to fill bellies of hungry families of Middle East everywhere in days gone by.

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  • Couple of large handfuls of bulgur wheat
  • Large bunch of fresh mint
  • Bunch of flat leaved parsley
  • Bunch of basil (optional)
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes (pref vine)
  • Big handfull of shelled walnuts (placed under newspaper and lightly bashed to break up the bigger pieces)
  • Couple heaped spoonful’s of green raisins (soaked in hot warm water)
  • Bunch of radishes (topped, tailed and chopped)
  • 4 or 5 spring large onions (chopped, including green tops)
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 1 red pepper chopped finely
  • ½ - 1 green pepper chopped finel
  • 2 lemons, quartered
  • 10 sweet pickled chillies (optional)
  • Few green (non-pitted) olives
  • Few black (non-pitted) olives
  • Plenty of flat breads like, Kobleh, metzo, pitta, or thin nan etc…etc…

For the dressing:

  • Spoonful of yellow mustard seeds
  • 3 spoonful’s of peppercorns
  • Spoonful of fennel seeds
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 red dried hot chillies Juice of 3 large lemons
  • Large spoonful of cumin seeds
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled, sliced lengthways
  • 2 red dried hot chillies
  • Juice of the 2 large lemons
  • Big dollop of garlic paste Lots of EV olive oil
  • Generous measure of EV olive oil


  1. First, kick off with the dressing, which must steep whilst the rest of the prep goes on. Start off with the pomegranate: Follow the instruction in the link to release the seeds… Try to collect as much of the juice as possible by gently squeezing the fruit as each segment is removed. Drain the seeds on kitchen towel and set aside.

  2. In a spice grinder whizz up briefly the yellow mustard seeds, peppercorns, fennel seeds, cloves, cumin seeds and dried bay leaves. Or use a pestle and mortar. In a shaking bottle/oil dispenser or any smallish container (old jam jar etc…) with a lid, place the ground spices inside, add the sliced garlic cloves, red dried hot chillies, lemon juice, the dollop of garlic paste, pomegranate juice and EV olive oil (the amount of EVOO should be roughly about double the amount of the rest of the dressing). Shake very well. Put aside for later and whilst the prep is going on give it the odd shake. That’s the most difficult bit over!

  3. Onto the rest Now, pour the bulgur wheat into a shallow bowl and pour in very hot water (or chicken/veg stock) just enough to cover it and set aside to allow the wheat to swell up. Strip the mint leaves off the stems and discard the stems (They are very bitter). Now combine the mint leaves, parsley and basil (chopped stems included) on a chopping board and using a large knife or herb chopper chop up fairly roughly all the herbs. Throw them into a large bowl. Into the same bowl throw in the chopped spring onions, cherry tomatoes, radishes, pomegranate seeds, chopped peppers, the sweet pickled chillies, green olives, and the black olives. Also drain the soaked green raisins and add them too. Mix like a crazy, making sure not to bruise the herbs, pomegranate seeds or break up the tomatoes. Set aside.

  4. Pour over the bulgar wheat enough of the dressing to wet it again and to allow it soak up the tangy flavour. Make sure it does not get too wet. Leave everything for half an hour.

  5. After ½ hr. add the crushed walnuts to the big salad bowl. Fluff up the bulgur wheat and spoon it in in small batches and mix into the salad bowl containing all the other ingredients. Mix carefully with each added batch. Add enough bulgur wheat to speckle the salad rather than to dominate it.

  6. Bring the overflowing salad bowl to the table and allow your guests to spoon into their own plates as much as they want. Pass round the remaining dressing for your guests to add to their portions as they wish. Serve with lots of flat breads and quarters of the remaining lemons. Encourage your guests to use the flat beards to scoop up their salad in place of forks/spoons.

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