I love rice, like I actually love rice so so much. however, my love for rice pales in comparison to my sister’s. I have never met a greater lover of rice. She is on a #fitfam journey and constantly asking me about better alternatives. Fast forward to mid January when a friend visited and urged me to create a recipe with Bulgur. Bul…what? I have heard of it, seen it, but never truly paid much attention to it. I assumed it was simply another fad grain.
On my most recent trip to Bulk Barn (absolute favorite place to shop for grain products), I spotted the bin of Bulgur and thought why not. I did a little research on Bulgur and here are my findings:
- Bulgur is recognized as wholegrain
- Unlike cracked wheat bulgur is parboiled
- Bulgar is high in protein & fiber and low in fat & calories
When compared with long grain white rice, Bulgar has 196 less calories per uncooked cup, 42 grams less carbohydrate, 4 grams more protein and 26.6 grams more fiber. Nutritionally, bulgar is a better alternative to both white and brown rice.
I also did a quick comparison between Bulgar & Quinoa (Which happens to be a lot more expensive), quinoa is more nutritionally dense, however, more bulgur can be consumed at lower calories to end up with the same nutrients.
“Quinoa, with 222 calories per cup of cooked grain, has nearly twice the calories of bulgur, which has 112 calories per cooked cup. Cup for cup, quinoa has more of nearly every macro- and micronutrient except dietary fiber. However, if you eat 2 cups of bulgur, you’ll take in approximately the same amount of calories and nutrients as in 1 cup of quinoa, plus 12 grams of dietary fiber, nearly half of the average daily target intake. Quinoa has 5 grams of dietary fiber per 1-cup serving. Bulgur, with its greater volume per calorie, may promote satiety more effectively than quinoa ” Source : livestrong.com
Now that we are all caught up on Bulgur education, the next challenge was creating something amazing with it. I searched online and found loads of recipes, mostly the recipes I saw were salad inspired. This is understandable since bulgur is traditionally used to prepare Tabbouleh, a delicious Northern African salad. I did notice in my recipe search that Bulgur has the tendency to get overcooked and look mush as apparent in most of the images I saw. I decided to created somethig truly west african with it and what is more West African than Jollof. Knowing fully well I had to keep the grains firm, I started them off in lukewarm water and good thing I did. My Bulgur Jollof turned out absolutely perfect with beautiful perfect individual grains.
As a true lover of rice, I can sincerely say Bulgur tasted just like rice. My husband even said he wouldn’t have know it wasn’t rice. The taste of bulgur is all in the cook and I can say this is an amazing recipe that your whole family will enjoy.
- 2 cups bulgur wheat
- 3 Tablespoon coconut oil (substitute Peanut or Vegetable oil)
- 1/2 medium onion (thinly sliced)
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 2 heaped tablespoons tomato paste (or 5 tablespoons Nigerian stew base)
- 1 teaspoon each thyme & curry
- 2 Knorr chicken cubes (chicken bouillon )
- Salt – to taste
- 1 teaspoon chili pepper (ata-gigun)
- 1 teaspoon ginger granule (powder)
- Pour bulgur into a large bow and cover with generous amount of lukewarm water. Set aside for 45 minutes. Pour into a strainer and rest to remove water
- Place a large pan on medium-high heat. Heat up oil. Add in onion and bay leaves, stir-fry until onion is translucent and fragrant (3-4 minutes). Add tomato past, stir to combine. Reduce heat to low-medium. Cover pot and leave to cook for 5 minutes
- Add in all spices and 1 cup water. Stir thoroughly to combine. Add in Bulgur, stir-fry on medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes. Cover pan and turn off heat. Leave pan covered for 10 minutes
- Jollof Bulgur is ready to serve. Serve on it’s own or garnished with fresh tomatoes & peas.
- Substitute 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger for ginger granule
- Substitute 1 fresh scotch bonnet (ata-rodo) pepper for chili pepper
- Omit chicken bouillon and use 1 cup chicken stock instead of water