Monday, January 14, 2013

Bulgar a how to guide

Bulgar what is it?  For many areas of the world bulgar is a staple of life. Bulgar is nothing more than wheat berries that have been cleaned, par-cooked, dried/toasted, and cracked into smaller pieces. For many it is confused with cracked  wheat which is just what it's name implies; wheat that has been cracked open. The two; although looking alike, cannot be interchanged. (Cracked wheat takes an awful lot of cooking to become edible.)

"Bulgur has been called by many names. The Roman word for it was cerealis; Israelites called it dagan. Other Middle Easterners called it arisah, which is how it was referred to in the Bible. Biblical scholars translate arisah as "the first of the coarse meal" and, according to Biblical archeologists, was a porridge or gruel prepared from parboiled and sun-dried wheat. The word bulgur itself has various iterations: burghul, burghoul, balgour and boulgur, to name just a few."  (taken from

© Shahinkia | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

What do you do with Bulgar?
Salads, soups, pilafs, stuffing, breakfast cereal, and as a meat extender are some of the most popular ways to use bulgar.

There are 4 basic ways to prepare bulgar

1. Non pre-soak method
1 cup bulgar
2 1/2 cups liquid
cook in a covered saucepan over low heat until all the liquid is absorbed about 20-30 minutes
remove from the heat and let stand covered for an additional 10 minutes the grains will dry out and will easily fluff with a fork

2. Hot pre-soak method
1 cup bulgar
3-4 cups boiling liquid
let stand 40 minutes or longer
drain through a cheesecloth and squeeze out the extra liquid

3. cold pre-soak method
1 cup bulgar
3-4 cups water
let stand for 2 - 21/2 hours
drain through a cheesecloth and squeeze out the extra liquid.

4. Boiled method 
1 cup bulgar
3 to 4 quarts water
bring to a boil reduce heat and boil 20 minutes
 drain the bulgar in a strainer and press the grains dry with the back of a spoon before serving

Once the bulgar is soaked or prepared, you can use it in a variety of dishes one of the best known is tabbouleh salad. In the United States it is most often used as a meat extender or made into a pilaf. Below are some links to bulgar recipes. 

New York Times bulgar recipes

We did an experiment where we made our own bulgar. It was quite easy and the children loved helping to grind the toasted grain. 

To make your own Bulgar

1. place whole wheat kernels in a pan
2. add cool water to cover by about 2 inches
3. bring to a boil
4. turn of the heat and let the wheat sit for about 2 hours
5. drain off the excess water
6. spread the wheat in a thin layer on a baking sheet
7. dry in a 200 degree oven for 6-8 hours until dry and crisp
8. crack the dried wheat to desired size using a hand grinder, blender, or morter and pestle.

The kids really had a great time making the bulgar, and I got to use my new mortar and pestle that I got for Christmas. It was a fun experiment for all of us. Getting the children involved in the preparation of food is a great way to help them experience new foods.  I hope that you and your family will enjoy a new recipe made with bulgar.

© Winterling | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

shared at keep it real thursdays


  1. Interesting! Thanks for sharing the history and the recipes at A Humble Bumble :)

  2. Thank you for this great information! I am trying to incorporate more whole grains into our diet and I have to be honest- I am lost as I don't know one thing from another. This was of a huge help to me and now I think I need to be adventurous and try some!

    Thanks for linking up with the Healthy Tuesday blog hop.
    Kerry from Country Living On A Hill

  3. Great information. I had heard some things about Bulgar, especially how to cook it, and now I know!

    Cinella @ The Mami Blog

  4. Great info! I would love to have you join The HomeAcre Hop at:

  5. It's been a while since I've had bulgar...thanks for sharing this info on The HomeAcre Hop :) I will have to try making it again!

  6. I've only eaten and prepared bulgar a few times, so I found this post very interesting. I enjoyed the history you shared, as well as the various cooking methods. Thank you for sharing with the Hearth and Soul Hop!