This recipe, from Aussie chef Greg Malouf's gorgeous book Turquoise (Hardie Grant Books) shows a different way in which to use fine bulgur (in Australia, most of us only ever use it in tabbouli). The inspiration comes from Yorem Mutfak, a lovely home-style restaurant in Gaziantep, south-eastern Turkey. Gaziantep was nominated UNESCO's Creative City for Food this year.
"Rather unusually, the owner and chef is a woman, the charming and friendly Hatice Yildirim, who told us she'd been cooking [over] 25 years, " writes Malouf. "We fell in love with the patties immediately, they are spicy with a lovely crunch from the bulgur. Hatice served them on baby lettuce leaves with wedges of lemon and spring onions as part of a mezze selection."
You'll find the red pepper paste used here in Middle Eastern stores.
- Yield : 4 - 6
- butter - 40g
- small purple onion - 1, finely chopped
- tomato paste - 1 tablespoon
- mild Turkish red pepper paste - 1 tablespoon
- ground cumin - 1 teaspoon
- red lentils - 100g
- water - 350ml
- fine bulgur - 1/2 cup
- mint leaves - 2 tablespoons, shredded
- dried mint - 1 heaped teaspoon
- sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
- lemon - 1, juice of
- extra virgin olive oil - 100ml
- baby Cos lettuce - 1, leaves washed
- small salad onions - 6
Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and add the onion, tomato paste, pepper paste and cumin. Cook for a few minutes until the onion starts to soften, then add the lentils and water and bring to the boil. Lower heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes, or until the lentils are tender and have absorbed two-thirds of the water.
Stir in the bulgur and fresh and dried mint and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes, then stir in half the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of the oil. Tip the mixture onto a tray to cool.
When ready to serve, whisk the remaining lemon juice and oil to make a dressing and season with salt an pepper.
Form the cooled lentil mixture into little patties and use your thumb to make an indentation in the surface of each.
Arrange the kofte on a platter with the lettuce leaves and salad onions, then drizzle over the dressing.