Bulgur Salad (Kısır or İç)

Kısır or İç is a delicious snack, appetizer, light lunch and even a light dinner. Some people confuse it with Tobouleh, however it is much different than Tobouleh and tastier. In Turkey, when ladies get together in the afternoon, it is very common to serve Kısır. Especially, in the Southern region of Turkey, this appetizer is very popular in gatherings. The best Kısır I have eaten is made by my aunt (father's sister). Until this day, I cannot forget how delicious she makes it. To me, the redder the Kısır, the better. She somehow manages to make it so red (she must use lots of red pepper paste), it looks so pretty and impossible to resist. Usually, when Kısır is served, it is eaten wrapped in romaine lettuce or fresh grape leaves and served with tomatoes, cucumbers, green olives, pickled peppers on the side.

2 cups bulgur (finely ground)
1 bunch fresh parsley
1 bunch fresh mint
1 bunch green onions
1 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp red pepper paste (available at Middle Eastern stores)
3 tbsp Pomegranate Molasses
½ cup olive oil
2/3 cup of boiling water

Place the finely ground bulgur in a wide bowl. Add the boiling water on the bulgur and mix until all the bulgur grains are soaked. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 20-30 minutes. While the bulgur is soaking, chop the parsley, mint and green onions finely.
When the bulgur grains become soft, add the red pepper and tomato pastes and knead for 5 minutes. Add the pomegranate molasses and knead a few more minutes. You can also substitute juice of 1 lemon (or more) for the pomegranate molasses. I use either of them, however, molasses gives it a more reddish color which I enjoy. Add the chopped parsley, mint and green onions. Mix well and make sure the bulgur grains are separated. Add the olive oil and mix. Enjoy this on a bed of romaine lettuce along with tomatoes, cucumbers, pickles and green olives.

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