Bulgur wheat is commonly called cracked wheat that has a chew taste when cooked. Bulgur is from cracked whole-grain kernels of wheat that get parboiled and dried before. Due to this process they cook much more quickly than other varieties of whole wheat. since it’s already processed, most of the bulgur varieties cook within 15 minutes. However some might need longer time. Bulgur is mostly famous in Mediterranean dishes such as tabbouleh. Bulgur can be used as a substitute for rice, quinoa or couscous.
Due to its slightly stick nature, bulgur makes a good binding ingredients when made as a pulave/biriyani dish. Today I have made an Indian version of bulgur dish with a masala paste that gets infused into bulgur and gives a great flavor. Compared to bulgur, quinoa or couscous does not absorb masala paste/infuse them much.
- ½ cup Bulgur wheat
- 1 ¼ cups water
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
- ¼ cup toor dhal
- 4 oz firm tofu
- Cooking spray
- 2 teaspoons cooking oil
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 shallot cut into thin slices
- ¼ teaspoon each mustard seed and fenugreek seed
- ½ teaspoon urad dal
- Few curry leave
- Pinch of asafetida
- 1 ¼ cups mixed vegetables
- Tamarind paste
- Salt to taste
- Roasted cashew nuts (optional)
For the Masala
- 1 pearl onion (sinna vengayam)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 dried red chilies
- ¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- ½ teaspoon cumin seed
- Water to grind
- To cook bulgur, bring water to a rolling boil in a saucepan. Wash and add bulgur, canola oil and salt. Bring to a boil and lower the flame and cover and cook until all the water is absorbed (or cook according to package directions)
- Meanwhile cook toor dal until soft and mushy. Set aside
- Drain and cut tofu into about 1-inch pieces. Spray oil to a cookie sheet and add tofu pieces in one layer on the cookie sheet. Spray tofu lightly with cooking spray and roast in the oven for 10 minutes (about 350 F). Let cool.
- Once tofu is cooled to room temperature, break them into small granules. This can be done in a food processor or by hand.
- Cook the mixed vegetables with little water on stove if using fresh vegetables. If frozen, thaw it and cook with little water at high for 2 minutes in a microwave. Since I used the frozen version, the package had corn, string beans, carrots, lima beans, and green peas. But you can add any of your favorite vegetables such as raw banana (vaalakkai), pumpkin, eggplant etc.
- For the masala grind all the masala ingredients with little water into a smooth paste.
- now in a large skillet add canola oil and add mustard seed. Once mustard seed splutter, add sliced onion and sauté until translucent.
- Add urad dal, fenugreek seed and curry leaves and sauté for another 2-3 minutes
- Add the ground masala and cook for about 5 minutes (to remove the raw flavor of garlic, onion and to cook the red chili that is in the paste). If it start drying out add little water at a time and sauté.
- now add cooked tool dal and mix well and cook for another one or two minutes.
- Add tamarind paste and salt and then add the cooked vegetables, crumbled tofu and cooked bulgur to the skillet and mix well and cook for one or two minutes until the masala, vegetables and bulgur is mixed well.
- Cover and let the flavors get infused, for about 10-15 minutes.
- Top with toasted cashew nuts or peanuts.
Yields: 2 main dishes
Note: soak dried red chilies for about 20 minutes in lukewarm water prior to grinding. This will make the chilies to grind easily. Also when serving, chopped cilantro can be sprinkled.