MAKES ABOUT 40 BITE-SIZED KÖFTE; SERVES 8 TO 10 AS A STARTER
Appetizer

Ingredients

Part 1: For the köfte
  • fine bulgur,3/4,cup,,fine-bulgur
  • water,1/2,cup plus 2 tablespoons, boiling,
  • scallions,2,,white and green parts - minced (about 1/4 loosely packed cup)
  • ripe tomato,1,medium,halved crosswise and grated on a box grater or 1/3 cup canned plain tomato puree,
  • tomato paste,2,tablespoons,,tamek-tomato-paste
  • Turkish pepper paste,1,tablespoon,sweet or hot or a combination,baroody-shatta
  • pomegranate molasses,1,tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon,cortas-pomegranate-molasses
  • fresh flat-leaf parsley,1/4,packed cup,minced,
  • Urfa pepper flakes,2,teaspoons,or substitute 1 ancho guajillo or New Mexico dried chile seeded toasted in a dry skillet and coarsely ground in a spice grinder or blender,urfa-biber
  • fine sea salt,1 1/4,teaspoons,,la-baleine-fine-sea-salt
  • cumin,1/2,teaspoon,ground,ground-cumin-seeds
  • crushed red pepper flakes,1/2,teaspoon,Turkish or other,syrian-style-red-pepper-flakes
  • dried chiles,1/4,teaspoon,ground (or substitute cayenne pepper or hot paprika),chiles-de-
  • black pepper,1/4,teaspoon,freshly ground,medium-grain-black-pepper
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Çig Köfte (Spicy Bulgur Patties)

Urfa pepper, tomato and pepper pastes, and pomegranate molasses give these bite-sized meatless bulgur köfte, eaten wrapped with fresh herbs in a lettuce leaf or a piece of thin lavash, magnificent punch. This recipe aspires to the one sold by the big bear of a vendor who sets up late every morning in front of Diyarbakır’s Mardin Gate.

The traditional technique of kneading the bulgur and other ingredients together by hand must be adhered to (whirring everything together in a food processor won’t give the desired texture). Don’t worry—it only takes about 10 minutes. I knead them in a heavy glass baking dish or a very large wide bowl set on a wet dish towel to keep it from skittering over my workbench.

You need fine bulgur for this dish. The further in advance you make the köfte, the better they are. The bulgur paste will keep for 5 or 6 days in the refrigerator, which means you can prepare it way ahead and form the köfte just before serving with tomato and pomegranate relish and fresh greens and herbs. This is great party and picnic fare. — From Istanbul & Beyond by Robyn Eckhardt. Buy this book from Indiebound or Amazon.

SPICY BULGUR KÖFTE is excerpted from Istanbul & Beyond © 2017 by Robyn Eckhardt. Photography © 2017 by David Hagerman. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Written By Robyn Eckhardt | Oct 23, 2018

Ingredients

Part 1: For the köfte
  • fine bulgur,3/4,cup,,fine-bulgur
  • water,1/2,cup plus 2 tablespoons, boiling,
  • scallions,2,,white and green parts - minced (about 1/4 loosely packed cup)
  • ripe tomato,1,medium,halved crosswise and grated on a box grater or 1/3 cup canned plain tomato puree,
  • tomato paste,2,tablespoons,,tamek-tomato-paste
  • Turkish pepper paste,1,tablespoon,sweet or hot or a combination,baroody-shatta
  • pomegranate molasses,1,tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon,cortas-pomegranate-molasses
  • fresh flat-leaf parsley,1/4,packed cup,minced,
  • Urfa pepper flakes,2,teaspoons,or substitute 1 ancho guajillo or New Mexico dried chile seeded toasted in a dry skillet and coarsely ground in a spice grinder or blender,urfa-biber
  • fine sea salt,1 1/4,teaspoons,,la-baleine-fine-sea-salt
  • cumin,1/2,teaspoon,ground,ground-cumin-seeds
  • crushed red pepper flakes,1/2,teaspoon,Turkish or other,syrian-style-red-pepper-flakes
  • dried chiles,1/4,teaspoon,ground (or substitute cayenne pepper or hot paprika),chiles-de-
  • black pepper,1/4,teaspoon,freshly ground,medium-grain-black-pepper
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Step one

Put the bulgur in a small bowl, add the boiling water, and stir to moisten all the grains. Cover and set aside for at least 30 minutes.

Step two: Mix the bulgur

Place the bulgur and all of the other ingredients in a large heavy baking dish, large wide bowl, or similar container. Wearing latex gloves, mix, squeeze, and knead the ingredients together. When they come together, they will be wet and loose at first. Continue mixing and kneading, pulling the mixture toward you to form a lump at the end or side of the dish or bowl nearest your body and then, using the heel of your hand, smoosh and spread it away from you. After a few minutes, the bulgur will begin to release its starch and the mixture will thicken and stiffen. Continue kneading until it is a homogeneous almost-paste (you will still feel individual grains of bulgur if you rub the paste between your thumb and forefinger) that holds together when squeezed, about 10 minutes total. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 4 hours and up to 6 days.

Step three: Form the köfte

Wearing gloves, use one or both hands to form a heaping tablespoon of the bulgur mixture into a rough ball. Be firm when handling the mixture so that the köfte doesn’t fall apart. Place the bulgur ball at the edge of your palm, where it joins your second and third fingers, and squeeze it into a finger-printed oblong by forming a fist. If the köfte falls apart, you weren’t firm enough when forming the ball. Place on a plate or platter and repeat with the remaining bulgur mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Ingredients

Part 2: For serving
  • Tomato and pomegranate relish,,,,
  • Crispy lettuce leaves,,,,
  • Arugula and fresh mint and/or purple basil sprigs,,,,
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Ingredients

Part 2: For serving
  • Tomato and pomegranate relish,,,,
  • Crispy lettuce leaves,,,,
  • Arugula and fresh mint and/or purple basil sprigs,,,,
Expand All
Add All

Step four

Serve the köfte cold or at room temperature with the relish, lettuce leaves, and herbs.