Turkish Kisir, very close

I'm trying to reproduce the Turkish kisir recipe, so far, this recipe is very close to what I have tried in Istanbul.

I have discovered Kisir in some fast-food restaurants in Istanbul. It's is a vegetarian dish that would be considered as mezze or as a side dish to some other food.

Turkish folks use an interesting paste made of red pepper, which I don’t have and which I haven’t made (it’s easy by the way). For this recipe, I just took 1 of a big red pepper and I literally shredded it, then I sautéed it with onions. You may do the same if you can’t find the sweet red pepper paste.

Fine bulgur, which looks big in the picture

While making Kisir recently, I stopped before the garnishing part because I wanted a warm version to serve with fish and broccolis, which is why you do not see parsley and some freshly chopped veggies here in these pictures. But if it's meant to be a proper cold Kisir, I suggest you follow the recipe mentioned down here.

Oh, and if you wonder how I get green broccoli after boiling it, my dad (who used to cook amazingly) told me to add a hint of bi-carb everytime I boil green veggies. I  still follow his advice, never failed me!

Serve 4 to 6 persons

Prep: 10 min- Cooking: 20 min

  • 1 cup of bulgur or bulghur (fine or medium fine)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp of coriander, chopped (just because I like it)
  • 1 ½ tbsp of red pepper paste
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • Salt, black pepper to taste
  • 1 ½ cup of boiling water
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil

  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 spring onions (scallions), chopped
  • 1 small cucumber, diced,
  • A handful of parsley, chopped


Method 1

Wash the bulgur and drain. Cover it with hot water. Set aside for about 10 min. In the meantime, chop the onion and fry them in 1 tbsp of oil until golden colour.

Out of the heat, add the pastes, the bulgur, cumin, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Cover and let soak; Bulgur is ready when it’s tender.  

Method 2

Fry the chopped onion until golden colour, add water, the pastes, coriander (not in the original recipe), cumin, salt and pepper. Let simmer for 5 min then add the washed bulgur. Remove from the heat and let soak, covered for about 10 min or until the liquid is soaked and the bulgur is tender.


Once the bulgur is cold, add the chopped vegetables, lemon juice, 1 tbsp of good olive oil and parsley.

Serve kisir cold along with fish, kebabs….

A note about the red pepper paste: you can use it in many other dishes such as pasta, pizza or just to add something special to a tomato sauce). If you plan to buy it, beware, there could be  hot/spicy version, so make sure you get the right one to your liking

Ingredients for more than 1 cup
  • 500 g good red peppers (discard seeds), cut in half in length
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 hot chilli pepper (optional)
  • Salt

Boil or steam (my mother steams the red pepper to make harissa, which gives less water to deal with later) to soften them. Peel them and puree them. Season to taste and place the paste into a pot. 
Simmer until it becomes thick and well reduced.  Mix in the olive oil, let cool and freeze in cubes until you want to use it.


  1. Wat a flavourful dish,loving it..

  2. Thanks Priya! It's nice indeed, a change from daily bread, or rice..

  3. Looks wonderful, I'm sure I'll try in the near future!

  4. Thanks Eric. I hope you do!

  5. Love your little quenelles of kisir - so pretty and I bet delicious too! I always ran a little cold water on brocolli when it was cooked - just enough to stop the cooking, but keep it hot still. That seems to do a good job at keeping it green too - never tried the sodium bicarb method...

  6. I run cold water too but sometimes it's gone darkish before I get there. so the bi-carb (really a hint of it) keeps it green all the way!

  7. Don't ask me about the chemical reaction behind it. It just looks that it works..My dad was not a scientist either..Don't know where he got it from.


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