Tired of the same old side dishes? Rice, pasta and potatoes just not exciting anymore? I know how you feel. You want something to complete the meal that will compliment the meat and veg and not take too long to prepare. Enter pourgouri, or Bulgar wheat.
Bulgar wheat is probably found in the staples or bulk food area of the grocery store. In London it can be found near the other beans and pulses because they have their own area of the store as so many more cultures eat beans and pulses compared to the American diet. Bulgar wheat can even be found in corner shops sometimes!
Bulgar wheat is like very small, coarse rice granules, or even a bit like quinoa (which I have never found in London and if anyone knows of a secret stash, do tell!). It's very filling and delicious with Greek yogurt on the side and goes well with pork or chicken. I have never heard of it or tried it until I met my fiance, like so many other dishes and foods.
This dish is traditionally made over the stove, but can now be made in the microwave, as my mother-in-law showed me.
First, chop an onion and put it into a big microwave-safe bowl with 2-3 Tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil. Microwave for 1-2 minutes on a high heat.
Then add small bits of vermicelli noodles- about 1.5 cups. You could use thin spaghetti if you were in a pinch. Microwave for 3-4 minutes on a high heat or until the onions and vermicelli are a bit browned. If your microwave is less powerful, try 7-10 minutes.
Add a can of chopped tomatoes, 1.5-2 cups bulgar wheat and enough water to cover everything. Microwave for 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the wheat is soft. If you need to, add more water and keep cooking.
That's it! An easy Greek side dish to liven up your dinner.
UPDATE: For a great salad recipe and tips on where to find quinoa, check out a great London blog, The Bittersweet City.