Bulgur Pilaf Turkish Style: bulgur with tomato and peppers

bulgur pilaf recipe turkish

Sure, we all love Turkish rice. But nothing beats a really good bulgur pilavi. Pilav (also known as Pilaf) is a generic term for various rice dishes that can be found in many cuisines. In Turkey, however, it doesn't necessarily have to be rice. Instead, bulgur is also often used for pilaf. This makes sense; after all, Turkey is the country of bulgur par excellence.


What used to be a typical peasant dish is now a real treat for everyone. Who can blame you? Especially with our bulgur pilaf recipe, there's a good chance that it will steal the show from your main course. This is because bulgur pilaf is usually a side dish that is particularly popular alongside hearty meat dishes (mince kebabs with bulgur pilaf...no words). But bulgur pilav is of course also good as a complete meal. The bite of bulgur and its cereal taste, fruity flavors from tomato and paprika, a little spiciness thanks to pul biber and pepper paste and good fat as a flavor carrier – you can only rave about bulgur. 


Incidentally, the good fat in our bulgur pilaf recipe was aromatic fat tail sheep fat (kuyruk yagi). But this is of course an exception and you don't need it for the perfect bulgur pilaf recipe. Instead, butter rounds off the bulgur rice incredibly well. But if you prefer the vegan version, just use vegetable fat. 


Bulgur preparation: How do you cook bulgur?

We have often noticed that many people are overwhelmed by bulgur preparation. But there's no need to worry, because bulgur is very easy to prepare. The process is exactly the same as with rice, or no: bulgur preparation is even easier. Because too much water in the rice and you have a dough. However, bulgur copes really well with a little too much water. In its simplest form, bulgur only needs to be cooked with the right amount of water and salt. But a really good bulgur pilaf Turkish style naturally needs a few other ingredients.


There are therefore several bulgur pilaf recipes. Some are prepared like Turkish rice. Some use eggplant inside. Other bulgur dishes are prepared with meat. However, our bulgur with tomatoes, pepper and/or tomato paste, onions and co is certainly one of the most popular bulgur recipes. 


By the way: because fresh tomatoes are included in our bulgur pilaf recipe, we have reduced the amount of water. Normally, a 1:2 ratio of bulgur and water is ideal. However, we have only used 1.5 times as much in this bulgur pilaf recipe. If you leave out the tomatoes, use more water accordingly.


The most important thing when preparing bulgur pilaf: close the lid!

If bulgur pilaf or Turkish rice does not turn out nice and fluffy, there is usually a reason for this: you have opened the lid. When preparing bulgur the Turkish way, it is important that the steam remains in the pan. Once the bulgur pilavi has boiled, immediately turn the heat down to low and put the lid on. Once the water has gone, turn off the heat but leave the lid on. For at least ten minutes. It is even better if you prepare our bulgur pilaf recipe in advance. Then simply leave the bulgur pilaf to stand with the lid on until ready to serve.

bulgur pilaf recipe turkish


What does our Turkish-style bulgur recipe go with?

Bulgur pilaf is the perfect accompaniment to all kinds of meat and vegetable dishes. You shouldn't be sad when bulgur pilaf takes the limelight. It goes particularly well with grilled meat. But it also tastes great with fish. But we also don't say no to a good portion of bulgur pilaf with yogurt for dinner. Shortly: We love bulgur pilaf unconditionally.


Because, as we said, our bulgur pilaf recipe is incredible in every sense of the word; Is it really because of our recipe? Of course, the bulgur also gets some credit - after all, our bulgur pilaf recipe wouldn't be what it is without it. And our Turkish-style bulgur recipe isn't even unusual or different from all the others. No. It is simply good, old-fashioned Turkish food that is easy to prepare and tastes like comfort, serenity and simplicity. Anatolian comfort food.

bulgur pilaf recipe

Bulgur Pilaf Recipe Turkish Style: Bulgur with tomatoes and peppers


  • 2 cups of bulgur 
  • 1 onion
  • 2 green peppers
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp paprika or tomato paste (if you have both on hand, use 50:50)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp butter (or tasty fat of your choice)
  • 3 glasses of water (or stock)
  • Pul biber (Turkish Aleppo Pepper Flakes)
  • grounded pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • optional: 1 clove of garlic


Step 1: Chop the onion and saute it in the oil until translucent. Meanwhile, chop the peppers and add them to the onions. Mix everything together.

Step 2: Now add the bulgur and butter to the pan. Mix and saute everything well over medium heat. Add the paprika/tomato paste and the spices. Mix everything together to distribute the paste. Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes.

Step 3: Once the bulgur pilaf is well mixed, add the tomatoes and salt. Mix well and pour over the water.

Step 4: When the bulgur pilaf is boiling, close the pan with the lid and switch to the lowest heat. When the bulgur is cooked, turn off the heat. Do not open the lid for at least 10 minutes. Mix the bulgur pilaf once before serving.

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