I don’t know about you but I love a good market wherever I am. I’m so inspired by the colours and the freshness of produce, whether I know what I’m looking at or not.
Every time I visit Istanbul the food is fresh and familiar yet so bold and different from any food I’ve ever had. This confluence of European and middle eastern flavours and ingredients is especially enhanced when you visit the markets. It’s not so much the unknown to me as much as combinations of flavours that I never considered. Flavours that in my mind at least would never go together. Visit another part of the world and those flavours all of a sudden make complete sense in your head and on your palate. Case in point, salads in Turkey go far beyond what I would normally think of. You’ll very rarely find lettuce as the main ingredient in a salad. Here, it’s most likely a grain that is your main salad staple.
Kisir, made primarily from buckwheat groats. I’ve also seen this made with bulgur, but I prefer buckwheat as it’s easier for me to digest. The flavours are definitely complex. When I first sat down to eat this I became so enamoured with the tastes and textures I began to dissect each bite to figure out what was in it (also made my dinner companions do the same). The list was surprisingly long. On paper you would think these flavours just couldn’t mix but somehow when you put them together it just works.
The main flavour in the salad comes from the pomegranate dressing not from pomegranates themselves so if you can’t find pomegranates in season you can just omit them. It is important to keep all the ingredients as fresh as possible so if something isn’t at it’s peak, just don’t include it or maybe switch it up for something that is in season.
You’ll also notice the quantities here are not very specific. Once you make this a few times, you will adjust the flavours to your taste. Personally I don’t like too much mint but there are others that want more mint than parsley. It’s entirely up to you.
Makes 2 servings Cook and prep time 30 minutes
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses (found in middle eastern stores and most grocery stores)
1 Tsp honey (or agave if vegan)
1 clove garlic, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbsp extra vigin olive oil
500g (1 cup) buckwheat groats
handful fresh parsley, chopped
few sprigs of mint, chopped
1/2 shallot sliced
2 plum tomatoes, diced (or a handful of halved cherry tomatoes)
1/2 red pepper, diced
2 spring onions, chopped
1/2 cucumber, deseeded, diced
handful of strawberries, diced
handful of pistachios, finely chopped
Olive oil and pomegranate molasses to drizzle
- Combine buckwheat with 2 cups of water in a pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
- Drain well and rinse with water. Set aside
- Make dressing by combining all ingredients in a small bowl
- Combine cooled buckwheat with dressing and add all salad ingredients together. Toss well to make sure everything is evenly combined.
- Finish with a drizzle of good quality olive oil and pomegranate molasses
If you’re cooking for one, just prepare all ingredients together minus the dressing. Add dressing only when you are ready to eat. This is not a case where the dressing sits well when combined. I don’t know what it is but it just does not taste as good.
IF YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE BE SURE TO TAG YOUR PHOTO #FIGSANDMAPLE