Bulghur wheat, also spelled bulgur, bulgar, or bhulgar, is made from several varieties of wheat berries. After the wheat berries are harvested, they are parboiled or steamed, typically dried by natural sunlight, and finally, crushed or ground. The wheat is then sifted into three different textures: fine, medium, and coarse. Bulghur wheat is believed to have originated in the areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, and it is a staple of Middle Eastern cuisine.
Bulghur is the main ingredient in the traditional Middle Eastern dishes of tabbouleh and kibbeh, and it is present in the cuisine of Turkey, India, and the Mediterranean as well.
A quick-cooking grain, bulghur is usually soaked in warm water for a relatively short period of time in order to soften it, and then additional recipe ingredients are incorporated into the grain. Bulghur has a distinctively nutty and earthy flavor, and it ranges in color from several shades of yellow to light-brown.
Bulghur is a wonderful alternative to some other grains, rice in particular, and it is used in dishes such as pilaf, salads, couscous, stuffing, and the like. It is also an interesting and flavorful meat replacement in chili, stews, and other foods which call for the use of ground beef or turkey.
Most importantly, bulghur wheat possesses numerous health benefits. High in fiber and protein, and a whole grain, it is thought to aid in weight loss, and to protect the physical body from heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers.
Bulghur has a higher glycemic index than other grains, such as processed white rice, and it is rich in numerous vitamins and minerals. Namely, B vitamins, iron, phosphorous, manganese, niacin, zinc, and folate, among many others. Bulghur has long been a chief element in vegetarian and vegan diets, but the grain is currently gaining in popularity among individuals interested in increasing the amount of whole grains in their eating plans.
Bulghur is most commonly found in health food stores, but as of late, some traditional grocery stores are beginning to carry it on the shelves of their natural food aisles. Bulghur wheat can also be purchased on the Internet through a variety of retailers.
The appeal of bulghur wheat has grown due to the fact that it is low in fat and calories, extremely healthy in other respects, versatile in its uses, and quick and easy in its preparation. Individuals in search of a unique alternative to rice or pasta will find bulghur not only packed with nutritional benefits, but pleasing to the palate as well.