Culinary world is a high ego environment. I have witnessed many people from every aspect of the culinary profession who thinks they are better and know more than the others. I believe the opposite. I believe that there is always someone better than me and I can always learn more. Thinking there is always someone better than me, pushes and motivates me to improve myself constantly, and never stop learning makes life much more interesting and develops me in many ways. Incidentally the constant learning process is the secret weapon of the world’s most successful people.
Maybe you know that I am a lecturer at a university and teach in the gastronomy and culinary arts department. I love my job, I love my students and I love teaching and I love learning. Even though I am the instructor I learn many new things everyday. I am learning from reading, listening and watching. I also learn a lot of new things from my students. When I give assignments to my students it usually requires them to do research about various aspects of culinary culture. Since culinary knowledge is an endless ocean, with every assignment I also gain an immense amount of knowledge.
I also learn and get inspired from their cooking. Whether it’s their secret family recipe or a dish that they make and post on instagram. This time I got inspired from one of my students’ instagram. Z.Y. shared a photo of bulgur pilaf with sucuk (Turkish spicy sausage). I found this combination intriguing and wanted to give it a try. Sucuk is the main ingredient that flavors the bulgur pilaf. Using the peppers, onions and tomato paste really enhanced the flavor of the whole dish, creating a deep umami taste.
I used siyez bulgur (sometimes referred to as einkorn wheat), which is one of the oldest types of grain in the world and genetically has not been altered for over 10,000 years. This ancient grain grows in the Kastamonu region of Turkey and there is one person, Mustafa Afacan who has dedicated his life to continue its production and introduce Kastamonu cuisine and ingredients to the world. Through his brand Mergüze Organik, ingredients of Kastamonu can be shipped to all over Turkey. The garlic I used in this recipe is also from Kastamonu, the infamous Taşköprü garlic.
Even though we are right in the smack of tomato season (and Z.Y. also used fresh tomatoes), I chose to use tomato paste because of the depth of flavor and umami that the paste has which accompanies the meaty taste of the siyez bulgur and the spiciness of the sausage. Plus this way I can pretty much make it year round as long as I can find some good crisp green peppers. Here is how my recipe goes:
Siyez Bulgur Pilaf with Sucuk, Onions and Peppers
2 tbsp butter
2 green peppers, about ¼ cup (similar to Anaheim peppers), chopped into medium dice
5 stalks of spring onions, sliced, white and green parts separated
6-7 cloves of garlic, sliced
150 gr sucuk, first cut ½ cm thick slices and then divide each slice into quarters
1 tbsp tomato paste
4 cups boiling water
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups bulgur
In a large pot melt the butter over medium high heat, start sweating the white parts of the spring onions and green peppers. When softened add the garlic slices, stir a few times and then add the sucuk cubes and cook until the sucuk has sweated and started to crisp a little. Add the tomato paste. Cook the vegetables with the paste for about 2-3 minutes then add the boiling water. Add salt, and the green parts of the spring onions, stir a few times and finally add the bulghur. Turn down the heat to medium and cook covered for about 12 minutes (since every stove is different and gas differs from electricity, make sure to check the pilaf after 10 minutes and cook more if there is still liquid). Once all the liquid is gone and the bulgur is cooked turn off the heat, place a clean kitchen cloth between the pot and the lid and let bulgur pilaf rest for 10 minutes. After the resting period is over, serve the bulgur pilaf with sucuk, onions and peppers in bowls with some yoghurt on the side. Afiyet olsun!