Ayfer Unsal's King of Kisirs

People who know me would tell you that it's hard to tell which I like more: gardening or cooking. I'd say it depends on which I'm doing at the moment. Anyway, French cooking and French gardening go hand in hand. For me, cooking is an on-going adventure.

 Join me here on my culinary explorations, where I share with you both my old favorites as well as new inspirations. It's my fondest wish that these recipes serve as a springboard for your own new creations.
Ayfer Unsal's King of Kisirs

For 2-4 people, depending on appetites and lust for the dish:
1 large onion, finely diced
1/2 c. excellent olive oil
1 c. fine brown bulghur
Approximately 1/2 -3/4 c.. homemade concentrated tomato puree, or in season, the equivalent of fresh, grated tomato (see technique below)
1 T. tomato paste (the Italian kind that comes in a tube is best)
! T. Turkish red pepper paste, if you have it.  Use sweet, or hot, or a mixture, according to taste
1/2 to 1 t. or more each fresh, ground cumin and coriander seed
1 t. or more to taste dried mint, rubbed between your palms into a powder
freshly ground black pepper and Turkish red pepper or Aleppo red pepper flakes to taste
1 medium very fresh garlic clove, minced
Sea salt to taste
2 c. finely chopped fresh herbs, including lots of fresh mint and flat-leaved parsley (essential) and optional basil or tarragon or cilantro.
The white and light green parts of 4 green onions, or 4 fresh "bulb" onions about an inch and a half in diameter, or equivalent of fresh green shallots pulled from your garden, finely chopped
2-3 T. pomegranate molasses, to taste
Heat the olive oil over medium heat, and fry the onions until golden, stirring only rarely.  As Ayfer says, "they  should cook nicely."  Set aside.
In a medium large mixing bowl, combine the bulghur and the tomato (to grate a fresh tomato, cut it in half crosswise, scoop out the seeds, and grate over large holes of your grater right down to the skin.  Discard the skin.)  Add the pepper and tomato pastes, all the spices to taste, the dried mint, and the garlic.  Wash your hands (if you haven't already) and use your hand to knead the ingredients together very thoroughly.  Squish the mixture through your fingers like a child playing naughtily in mud.  The bulghur will start to absorb the moisture.  Continue until no separate liquid is visible and the texture is moist yet fluffy.  Adjust with more tomato if needed.  Taste the mixture.  Adjust the seasoning.  When you are pleased with the balance of flavors, add the onion with its oil, the pomegranate molasses, the chopped green onion and the herbs.  Continue kneading the mixture for at least 5 minutes.  This kneading is essential to the full flavor and pleasing texture of a real kisir.  The texture should be moist, not dry and separate like a tabouleh.  Give it a final tasting and seasoning adjustment if necessary.    Serve on its own or with young raw vine leaves, or steamed mature vine leaves, or fresh, washed and dried lettuce leaves.  To eat with the leaves, scoop a spoonful of the kisir onto the center of the leaf, fold the leaf around it, and pop it into your mouth.  Leftovers, if there are any, will keep handily until the next day

www.sitepaneli.net [ WELAJANS - V.Beyazgul ]