Kisir is a traditional Turkish salad that has been enjoyed for centuries. This flavorful salad is made using finely ground bulgur wheat that is mixed with a variety of fresh ingredients such as cucumbers, peppers, and juicy red tomatoes.
The salad is perfect for vegans and vegetarians, as it is entirely plant-based and free from any animal products. Bulgur wheat is first soaked in hot water to soften it up. Then, other ingredients, like fresh parsley, green onion, and garlic are added to create a beautiful blend of colors and flavors.
Whether you're looking for a flavorful side dish or a healthy snack, Kisir is a perfect choice. This recipe will feed a large family or many at a gathering.
My mother-in-law, Gulseren, recently gave me all her old Sofra magazines that must have been at least 20 years old. As I flipped through the pages, I saw this authentic kisir recipe made by food writer, Emine Beder who mostly created all of the recipes in the publication at that time.
I was so excited to make the recipe!
A Note on Proper Measurements
There is one very important rule to point out. In Turkey, they measure ingredients a little freely. There is no US metric system—heck there's no system at all! All you have to know is that each recipe isn't as accurate as it should be—just use your best judgment. Here's what I mean...
The original recipe calls for under half a bag of Koftelik bulgur. What's half a bag you ask? No one knows. Each manufacturer creates different sizes. Furthermore, it is also practical to use units of measurement like a dessert spoon of dried mint or half a tea glass of olive oil.
As you can tell, this is a problem because everybody's dessert spoon and tea glasses are different. For this reason, I accurately measured out each ingredient as close as possible to the original so that there would be little room for error without compromising the authenticity of the recipe.
How to Make Authentic Kisir
- First, add the bulgur to a large mixing bowl, then pour boiling water over the bulgar. Cover for 30 minutes. This step will help "cook" or tenderize the bulgar. After that, fluff the bulgur with a spoon or fork.
- Make the Kisir Paste. In a large mixing bowl add the tomato paste, spices, olive oil, and lemon juice. Massage and mix until the bulgar is completely coated in the seasoning. Place the fluffy bulgur to the paste and massage generously with a spoon, or your hands until the paste is evenly distributed.
- Add the Vegetables. Add the diced tomatoes, thin-sliced green onion, and parsley to the seasoned bulgur. Give a toss and chill for at least an hour before serving.
- Serve cold with an extra garnish of tomatoes, green onion, and parsley.
More Crave-Worthy Recipes
Cucumber Tomato Salad: This salad features diced cucumbers, tomatoes, and onion tossed in a simple Mediterranean dressing. Enjoy this salad with your favorite dishes for lunch or dinner.
A VERY DELICIOUS Chicken Salad Recipe: Chicken salad with crisp vegetables and a creamy herby dressing made with marinated roasted chicken.
Authentic Kisir (Turkish Bulgur Salad)
- 3 cups fine bulgur (also known as koftelik bulgur)
- 4 cups boiling water
- 1 ½ tablespoon Turkish red pepper paste
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup lemon juice about the juice of 2 lemons
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced the original recipe peels the skin off the tomatoes
- 5-6 green onion, chopped
- 3 Turkish peppers also known as sivi biber (or 1 bell pepper finely chopped)
- 2 Persian cucumbers, diced
- ½ bunch parsley, chopped
- You will need a large bowl. Add the bulgur into the bowl, then cover it with boiling water. Cover the bowl with saran wrap or cloth for 30 minutes.
- When ready, remove the covering, and fluff the bulgur with a fork until clump-free. Next, add the tomato paste, red pepper paste, sumac, Aleppo pepper, dried mint, salt, olive oil, and lemon juice to the bulgur. Mix and massage until each tiny ball is seasoned.
- Finally, add the tomatoes, green onion, Turkish peppers, cucumbers, and parsley. Give a gentle toss until all of the ingredients are evenly mixed.
- Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Garnish with chopped tomatoes and parsley.