Kisir Salad, an Ancient Grain for Modern Times

Sometimes we forget about the simple things in life and making Kisir salad is one of them.
Kisir is a traditional salad in Turkish cuisine made with ground bulgur, parsley and tomato paste, seasoned with sweet-tart pomegranate molasses and crushed hot Maras pepper. I love roasted sweet cherry tomatoes and chickpeas. The roasted cherry tomatoes add a sweet flavor and the chickpeas add protein and fiber. Once you have tasted Pomegranate molasses, I promise you will add it to your shopping list. It tastes like a well aged balsamic vinegar and it’s intensely sour, yet sweet flavor can be a revelation. It goes well with poultry and lamb too. Add a touch to your favorite meat marinade, or just drizzle it over vanilla ice cream.
Micheal Polloan, author of a great motivational book, “Food Rules, An Eaters Manual” states the challenge of eating well comes down to two choices, real food or highly processed food. It is that simple.. well kind of.
Staying away from food and ingredients that a third grader cannot pronounce is a good start and by the way, is one of my favorite food rules. Kisir is all about real functional food, nothing fancy, just simple food that speaks tradition, whole grain and tempting flavor. One thing to keep in mind,  while functional foods may help promote wellness, they can’t make up for poor eating habits.


Bulgur is a Persian word meaning “bruised grain”. Not to be confused with cracked wheat; bulgur is wheat that has been steamed or parboiled, dried and ground. The grain has a chewy texture and a light, nutty flavor and is available in several sizes: fine, medium, coarse and whole.

I use Maras crushed pepper, pronounced  mah-RASH. How much you use and how much heat is up to you. There is that saying, when Turkish friends get together they make Kisir and drink tea.
On most tables in Turkey, you’ll find small bowls of both Maras and Urfa Biber pepper, this is as common on dinner tables in Turkey as black pepper is in the United States.
Give it a try, you will love it. Add a dash to sauce or soup for a touch of mild and unexpected heat. I get my pomegranate molasses and Maras pepper from my favorite Middle Eastern spice store in Chicago, the Middle East Grocery & Bakery, located in Andersonville at Clark and Foster Avenue.

Bulgur is used in the Eastern Mediterranean from Greece, Turkey through Lebanon, Syria, Israel and Palestine and as Far East as Iraq, then onto the North African nations of Egypt and Tunisia.

Kisir Salad 

The Taste: Great flavor with zingy, spicy and fresh taste that will excite your palate.
Serve with a great Feta, olives and pita.

The Process: To make Kisir salad is as simple as it gets. Kisir is real food, nothing fancy.
Simple food that speaks tradition with whole grain and tempting flavor.

The Verdict: A great Bulgur salad full of Mediterranean flavor that goes well with poultry and lamb.
Once you have tasted Pomegranate molasses I promise you will add it to your shopping list
Add a touch of Pomegranate of it to your favorite meat marinade. Or just drizzle it over vanilla ice cream.

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