Creamy bulgur wheat pudding with fruit.
(photo credit: YAKIR LEVY)
At the first Bulgur Festival, held in Gaziantep in southeast Turkey in late May, we realized how much more there is for us to learn about this staple of Middle Eastern cooking. Chefs and their assistants prepared 101 different bulgur wheat dishes, ranging from traditional fried kubbeh and bulgur pilaf with lentils (see recipe) to innovative items such as bulgur-crusted cheesecake and melon stuffed with pomegranate-bulgur salad.Wheat is believed to have first been cultivated in the Middle East, and bulgur wheat, which is made of wheat that is parboiled, dried and cracked, has been known since ancient times. In fact, it may have been the first convenience food. It cooks quickly, and smaller sizes of bulgur do not even need to be cooked at all; they require only brief soaking to rehydrate them.