This classic bulgur salad has a long tradition, especially in the southern provinces of Turkey, and considering how hot it gets there it is no surprise that kısır gets served more often in summer. Having a bowl of kısır with crispy lettuce leaves is the ultimate snack (or personally speaking, a light yet nutritious meal) on sweltering summer days. If you have Turkish friends or have regular get-togethers that center around some tea or coffee (hopefully after the pandemic), you’ll probably see kısır served, but why not have a go at making your own at home? Perhaps next time, you could be the one to bring some over.
Pour the boiling water over the thin bulgur and close the container or pan off with a lid or plastic film and let the bulgur take in all the water. This might take a few minutes.
Once all the water has been absorbed, add the tomato paste and olive oil. Mix this until the tomato paste has been completely distributed in the bulgur. Add salt, red pepper flakes, lemon juice and the nar ekşisi (pomegranate syrup) as well as the chopped green onions, mint and parsley. Give it all a good mix and serve.
*Nar ekşisi is reduced pomegranate juice which has a similar taste to balsamic vinegar. It is in its original state not as thick as honey. There are cheaper options which are called “nar ekşili sos,” a diluted and thinner version of it due to added water and sugar, and thus not as intense in taste.
You could use half the amount of tomato paste and add fresh tomatoes while consuming this during summer for a fresher take. But due to their watery nature, it's best to eat this salad as soon as possible.
Adding other veggies such as cucumbers or a variety of peppers is encouraged! But like with the tomatoes, you have to keep in mind that the more watery vegetables are added the faster the salad might go bad/soggy. Add these at the very last minute and only to the portion that will be served or eaten immediately.
Serving this salad with a few lettuce leaves is a must. Additional lemon juice and some pickles on the side also make great additions as well as a dollop of extra nar ekşisi – you can't have ever enough of that sweet-sour taste, trust me.