Bulgar was generally rural peoples’ food in the Middle East, while rice was for affluent city folk. However bulgar or cracked wheat was a staple to many Palestinians. Today, this differentiation is less relevant, with bulgar gaining popularity worldwide, particularly for salads and mezzes. Chermoula aubergine with bulgur and yoghurt is a perfect example of how bulgar can take an otherwise ordinary dish and take it to the next level.
2 garlic cloves
2t ground cumin
2t ground coriander
1t chilli flakes
1t sweet paprika
2T finely chopped preserved lemon
140ml olive oil plus extra to finish
2 medium aubergines
150g bulgar or cracked wheat
10g fresh coriander chopped plus extra to finish
10g fresh mint chopped
50g pitted green olives, halved
30g flaked almonds, toasted
3 spring onions, chopped
1½T lemon juice
120g Greek yoghurt
- Preheat oven to 200ºC.
- Mix together in a small bowl the garlic, cumin, coriander, chilli, paprika, preserved lemon, two thirds of the olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to make the Chermoula. Set aside.
- Cut the aubergines in half lengthways. Score the flesh of each half with deep, diagonal criss-cross scores, making sure not to pierce the skin. Spoon the Chermoula over each half, spreading it evenly.
- Place on baking sheet cut-side up. Put in oven and roast for 40 minutes or until the aubergines are completely soft.
- Place bulgar in a large bowl and cover with 140ml boiling water.
- Soak the sultanas in 50ml of warm water. After 10 minutes drain the sultanas and add them to the bulgar, along with the remaining olive oil. Add the herbs, olives, almonds, spring onion, lemon juice and a pinch of salt and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
- Serve the aubergines warm or at room temperature. Place one half per portion on a serving plate. Spoon bulgar on top, allowing some to fall from both sides. Spoon over some yoghurt, sprinkle with chopped coriander and finish with a drizzle of oil.