Burghul bi dfeen is an authentic and delicious Lebanese recipe based on bulgur and chickpeas, which is usually served with yogurt.
What is bulgur?
To start with, the word bulgur does not come from Bulgaria, but Turkey, which seems to be the cradle of wheat culture. Bulgur is a product made from durum wheat, where part of the bran is removed. It is then steamed, dried and crushed.
Once sorted, it is classified into 3 (sometimes up to 4) sizes: #1 fine, #2 medium, #3 coarse.
Fine grain (#1) is used as breakfast cereals, for breads or desserts. It can be used for tabbouleh, just like medium size grain.
Medium grain (#2) is used in salads, stews, soups or in kibbehs, veggie burgers or chili.
Coarse grain (#3) can be used in pilaf, but also in stews, soups or salads.
Fine grain can be cooked just like rice, but can also simply be prepared by combining with water or other liquid and letting it soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Medium and coarse grains are traditionally cooked like rice in twice their volume of water.
There are many products that are produced from wheat. Semolina, for example, is a product of the cereal but is not prepared like bulgur. Semolina is made from wheat, mostly durum wheat, which is moistened and then dried and sieved. It is therefore not precooked like bulgur and requires more time to fully cook. There are also several sizes for semolina, from durum wheat flour that is used in the manufacturing of pasta to coarse semolina which is used to make couscous like couscous au beurre.
But semolina can also be made from cassava instead of durum wheat. It will be called attieke.
Another product from the milling of wheat, green or young wheat this time, is freekeh that is used in recipes such as freekeh with chicken recipe.
What is burghul bi dfeen?
Burghul bi dfeen is a dish prepared with bulgur, as well as pearl onions, chickpeas, meat.
The addition of chickpeas to this bulgur recipe give the dish the perfect texture. Spices enhance the dish and give the Middle-Eastern touch. Burghul bi dfeen is traditionally prepared with samneh, which is nothing more than clarified butter, also quite used in Indian cooking and known over there as ghee, but you can also use oil.
When using samneh, finish the dish with one or two tablespoons of it over the bulgur before serving. This dish is also often served with a kind of thick yogurt called labneh.
A delicious traditional recipe to prepare for the winter. I highly recommend it!
- ½ cup chickpeas
- 12 small white onions
- 2 cups bulgur
- 1½ lb beef (or lamb), cubed
- 2 tablespoons Lebanese "7 spices" blend aka sab3a bharat (allspice, black and/or white pepper, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, cloves, ginger)
- 2 bones beef (or lamb)
- 4 tablespoons samneh (clarified butter), or olive oil
- 1½ teaspoon salt
- Soak the chickpeas in enough water to cover for at least 8 hours and ideally overnight.
- Peel the pearl onions and keep them whole. Alternatively, blanch the pearl onions for 1 to 2 minutes in boiling water to make them easier to peel.
- Brown the meat and bones in a large uncovered pressure cooker with a little oil or 2 tablespoons samneh for about ten minutes.
- Remove meat.
- Fry the pearl onions in the same pressure cooker for 5 minutes.
Cook the drained chickpeas in enough water to cover in a pressure cooker under high pressure for 15 minutes. Remove and drain chickpeas.
- Place meat, bones and salt in the pressure cooker, cover with water and cook under pressure for 30 minutes.
- Open the pressure cooker, add the pearl onions and cook for five more minutes.
- Remove the meat and onions from the stew.
- Add the chickpeas and bulgur and a tablespoon of the "7 spices" blend.
- Simmer uncovered, until the chickpeas and bulgur are tender.
- Add more water if necessary. Add salt and pepper.
- Serve the bulgur and chickpeas on a plate. Pour two tablespoons samneh or olive oil on the stew.
- Top with meat and onions. Sprinkle "7 spices" blend to taste.
- Garnish with a tablespoon of labneh (optional).