Spicy kisir salad

Spicy kisir salad

New Middle Eastern Food
6-8 as part of a mezze selection
Mark Roper

In Lebanon and Syria they have tabbouleh; in Turkey they have kisir. The ingredients in kisir vary from town to town, but in the south-east of the country it is usually enlivened with red pepper paste and pomegranate molasses. While Arabic tabbouleh is, in essence, a herb salad flecked with burgul, Turkish kisir is staunchly grain based. Both salads, though, make a great addition to a mezze table, and are best eaten scooped up in little lettuce leaves.

Don’t be tempted to increase the amount of boiling water here: it doesn’t look like a lot of liquid, but the burgul will soften further in the juice from the tomatoes and the dressing.


Quantity Ingredient
200g fine white burghul
125ml boiling water
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon hot turkish red pepper paste
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
60ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 long green chilli, seeded and finely chopped
3 large vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
5 spring onions, finely chopped
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 cup chopped mint leaves
sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
baby lettuce leaves, to serve


  1. Soak the burgul in the boiling water for 15 minutes, then tip into a large bowl.
  2. Add the pastes, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses and oil to the burgul. Use clean hands to work the grains so that the pastes and liquid are evenly distributed and the burgul is tinted a pretty pale pink. Add the chilli, tomatoes, spring onions and herbs and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning by adding salt and pepper and more lemon juice or pomegranate molasses if required.
  3. Mound the salad onto a serving platter and garnish with baby lettuce leaves. Alternatively, use wet hands to form the mixture into walnut-sized balls and serve them nestled in the lettuce leaves.
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