Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bulgur Pilaf - Dikranagerdtsi style

Dikranagerdtsi Bulgur Pilaf
Just got off the phone with my mother. She was sitting on the front porch of her Jersey shore beach house when along came jogger, Dee Aljian-Barnes... Dee is a long-time family friend who spends summers at the shore as did her family for many decades. Dee, my mother and sister settled in for a visit when Dee mentioned she found our website while looking for a bulgur pilaf recipe.

Dee said she was surprised that the recipe we posted wasn’t the way Dikranagerdtsis make it. I told Mom that Doug posted it, so I went back to refresh my memory. The bulgur pilaf recipe he posted came from the Harvard University School of Public Health - a very tasty recipe for sure, but not the one Dee wanted.

So, Dee, here’s our Dikranagerdtsi-style Bulgur Pilaf recipe which serves 4:


2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup fine noodles
1 cup #2 or #3 bulgur
2 cups chicken broth (or water)
salt to taste


1. In a 3 quart pot, melt the butter. Add noodles and stir gently until noodles begin to brown lightly. Do not let butter and noodles burn!

2. Stir in bulgur allowing the butter to coat it.

3. Add the broth or water and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low. Cover and cook about 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and bulgur is tender but not mushy.


  1. The recipes for bulgur pilaf are almost endless. My mom (who is Aintabsi) makes it almost exactly the same way, except that she adds (for the amount in your recipe)

    1/2 white or red onion, sliced into thin crescents
    1 small ripe tomato, diced
    (Optional) 1/2 cup cooked chick peas (could be canned)
    (Optional) Some pre-cooked cubed beef shank or sirloin or other stewing meat (about 1/4 to 1/2 pound)

    Also, substitute olive oil for the butter and decrease the broth or water a tad to account for the tomato juice.

    Add the onions along with the bulgur, then add the tomato. Add the chick peas and meat along with the broth. The idea is to wilt the onions and saute the tomatoes a bit. If the tomato is not ripe (and I mean farm ripened), you can add a little tomato paste or tomato sauce to enhance the flavor.

    At the end, you can arrange some thinly sliced green bell peppers on top, both for decoration and also because bell pepper seems to go very well with bulgur.

    1. My mother, from Jerusalem, makes a similar one to your mom's. Her mother is from Aintap as well.

  2. We usually make that "pilaf" recipe with kaorma shredded in it.

  3. You're right Ara, the bulgur (and rice) pilaf recipes are endless! Caramelized onions add a tasty touch to this dish as well.

  4. Shakuey,
    Would you please explain "kaorma"? Thanks.

  5. Kaorma, as I know it was made with lamb in Diyarbakir. Anyhow, here in this country I have always had my mother's version made with beef (london broil cut I believe). The meat is cut into cubes, boiled and then fried in butter and pressed into a dish. The pieces that fall apart in the pot are scooped up and put on top of the pressed cubes and the oil is poured on top. It can be eaten cold or hot. I see that you spell it Kavourma in your recipes. When we make that bulghur pilaf you are referring to, we add the kaorma, although it is cut into smaller pieces.

  6. Of course! I didn't make the connection; thanks for explaining.
    It is delicious, isn't it?? Mmmmmmmm.

  7. Fried meat with lotsa buttah? What's not to love? :-)

  8. The Harvard University School of Public Health?

  9. Yes, David. That is correct.

  10. this recipe is *exactly* the one my grandmother used. all my aunts and cousins make it this way. my husband of 4 months thinks this is the best dish i've ever made (and i'm a pretty good cook!) he just loves pilaf.
    now, sometimes he likes it with cocktail meatballs, but: whatever!
    it might take a little time, but i'll make him armenian before i'm done!

  11. Lisa, It's such an easy and delicious recipe,isn't it? By the way, your husband has VERY good taste (by marrying you and loving your cooking).
    The cocktail meatballs,however ...

  12. Parev you all,

    You forgot the most important bit. Let the bulghur REST in the pot for about 5-10 minutes. Can cover with paper towel to absorb some of moisture. Then fluff with fork. In Armenia they don't know from rice pilaf or bulghur, so its eaten lumpy. A BIG No-NO. Here in Yerevan there's not many places where you can get good western Armenian fare. Too bad.

  13. mother came from Adpapazar... I wonder if there is any recipes or ways of cooking from that area?? Also, what about people who originated from Kungular which is 60 miles south of Istanbul.
    Dawn DerGiragossian Bakek

  14. This is EXACTLY the way my mother and aunts made it! I grew up in Belmar on the Jersey Shore. Now I make it for my family and they love it!

  15. Hey there, Anonymous,
    Small world! My family has a home in Belmar - do we know each other? I'd love it if you'd contact me: Thanks!

  16. This is also how my Nanny use to make it. She is 91 and no longer able to cook as much, but we all took very good notes. I'm local too, Eatontown.