Vegetable and lentil bulgar

Vegetable and lentil bulgar

Anjum's Indian Vegetarian Feast
Emma Lee

Most recipes on this side of the world that use bulgur wheat are salads, but Indians, particularly the Gujarati people, use it regularly in pilaf. This is a lovely, delicate dish that my mother-in-law first cooked for me after I had my first child: nourishing for a slightly depleted new mum, but light on the system. I so loved the simple flavours and nuttiness of the bulgur that it has remained in my diet; my daughter is now six. Vary the vegetables, using what you have. I eat it with yogurt and a good turn of black pepper. If you won’t be eating it with yogurt, add a little lemon juice at the end. I usually cook this just for my little family. You can double the recipe but, if you do, only use 6 cloves and 15 peppercorns.


Quantity Ingredient
1 1/2 tablespoons ghee
or 1 1/2 tablespoons a mixture of unsalted butter and vegetable oil
5cm cinnamon stick
4 cloves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
12 black peppercorns
1 small-ish onion, chopped
12g root ginger, grated, (peeled weight)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and grated
50g yellow lentils, washed well
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon garam masala
salt, to taste
150g bulgar wheat

Vegetables I have used here:

Quantity Ingredient
6-7 green beans, chopped into 2 cm lengths
50g cauliflower, cut into 2.5 cm florets
50g broccoli, cut into 2.5 cm florets
1/3 small red bell pepper, cut into 1.5 cm cubes


  1. Heat the ghee in a non-stick frying pan. Add the whole spices and cook until the cumin is aromatic. Add the onion and sauté until soft. Add the ginger and garlic and cook gently for one minute, or until the garlic smells cooked and has turned lightly golden.
  2. Add the vegetables, lentils, ground spices, salt and a splash of water. Bring to a boil, stir well, cover and simmer until the vegetables are almost cooked, around five minutes. Uncover the pan to drive off any excess water.
  3. Add the bulgur wheat and stir well. Mix in 300 ml of boiling water, cover and cook over a low heat for 13–15 minutes. Check a grain: it should be cooked, if not place back on the heat to steam a little more. Take off the heat but leave to steam, covered, for another five minutes or so. Taste, adjust the seasoning and serve.
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