I have a humongous love for jollof rice and rice in general and I needed healthier options. I tried Quinoa, but I eventually got tired of it . So, I decided to try Bulgur. I remember trying out jollof bulgur last year and man was I hooked. Hooked on bulgur that is. Bulgur is very fit fam friendly especially as a rice substitute. I am in love with rice and can eat rice all day, but while joining the fit fam train, and apart from brown rice, I kind of needed a substitute, so when I found out about bulgur wheat I was absolutely thrilled.
I have made bulgur several ways, from jollof, to coconut stir fries and to use in soups
Basically, what is Bulgur? Bulgur is a parboiled, dried and cracked wheat grain, mostly gotten from durum wheat. When compared to rice, bulgur contains more proteins and is rich in fiber.
Honestly, as a lover of rice, substituting with bulgur has been a huge relief. My ajebutters cannot even tell the difference.
After a few tries with bulgur, I also have a perfected method to cook it without it turning to mush. I always make sure, the water is piping hot and boiling and I also make sure that the water is right on the same level as the grain; this helps to prevent over cooking.
Making this grain into jollof rice was one of the best decision I ever made using this grain. It is quite easy and infused with flavours. A eureka moment :).
Before making this dish, I had bumped into a picture on Instagram and with one click, it lead me to The Cozy Apron. I have to say Ingrid is my type of cook. She sure knows how to throw it down in her kitchen. Anyway, while going through her blog site, I found a recipe for red rice; of which the process was a tad similar to Jollof rice. She had also made it in a skillet and it reminded me of my Aunty and her home cooking. My Aunty cooked almost everything in a skillet 🙂 Anyway, I decided to follow Ingrid’s steps and I kind of added my own “Lazy twist” to it. Also, remembering the advantages of cooking in a skillet, I decided to do the same. You see, cooking in a skillet or a shallow pot kind of makes it easier for grains like rice to cook evenly. The shallower the skillet is, the better and easier it is to cook. Apart from that, a skillet is kind of equivalent to the Nigerian clay pot. It makes everything taste better. My Aunty cooked in a skillet a lot, so I know 🙂 But, it is also okay to use a sauce pan or a regular cooking pot if you do not own a shallow pot or skillet. The food will still cook and taste great and you will have your Eureka moment!
- 1½ cups of coarse bulgur
- 2 cups of hot water
- ½ tsp of olive or sunflower oil
- 1 sliced beef sausage(optional)
- 11/2 tbsps.of tomato paste
- 1 small habanero pepper or ata-rodo
- 1small red bell pepper ie tatase
- one small onion divided
- ½tsp of black pepper
- ¼ cup of coconut or sunflower oil(you may eye ball to use less or more)
- 1tsp of butter
- ½tsp of black pepper
- ½ tsp of thyme
- 1-2 small bay leaves
- ½tsp of curry powder
- 1 knorr. Any bouillon works
- 1 handful of mixed vegetables(I used carrots and peas)
- Salt to taste
- 1 small plum tomato cut into little pieces or 6 cherry tomatoes cut into half pieces
- A hand full of sliced onions
- ½ an inch of grated ginger
- ⅛tsp of grated nutmeg
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add the ½ tsp of olive or sun flower oil and some salt to taste. Pour in the dry bulgur(make sure that the water is on the same level as the grains. Pour out any excess water) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover tightly and cook for about 10minutes. Once the water is dry, turn off the heat. Fluff with a fork and let it sit in the refrigerator or spread on a tray to cool. This prevents sogginess
- Meanwhile, blend half of the small onion along with the bell pepper and ata-rodo; then pour it through a fine mesh sieve or boil to dry out any excess water
- Meanwhile in a skillet or sauce pan, sear the beef sausages until golden brown on each side. Drain onto a paper towel.
- Heat the oil and butter in the same skillet. Reduce the heat and sauté the onion, white pepper, thyme, curry, black pepper and bay leaves for a few minutes to release their flavors. Add the tomato paste and fry until it looks grainy; then add the pepper mix, season with the knorr and fry until it looks dark and the oil has floated to the top or until the tomato and pepper mix has separated from the oil. Pour in the cooked bulgur and mix thoroughly until the stew has coated each grain of bulgur. Pour in your mixed vegetables and cooked sausages; then add the garnishes and stir. Check for seasonings, add some salt to taste if needed and set aside