How To Cook Bulgur Wheat

Bulgur wheat is a healthy whole grain that is very popular in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. It can be used in a wide variety of different dishes, but how do you cook it?

How To Cook Bulgur Wheat

In this article, we will look at two different ways to cook bulgur wheat.

Do You Have to Wash Bulgur Wheat Before You Cook It?

You don’t have to wash bulgur wheat before cooking. You will find that some recipes might ask you to do so and you can decide whether you want to or not. 

Many people prefer to rinse their bulgur wheat before cooking to remove any dirt or debris that may have found its way into the packaging.

If you’re concerned that your bulgur might be dirty then washing can help and give you peace of mind.

How to Cook Bulgur Wheat

There are a few different ways to cook bulgur wheat and we will introduce a couple to you. Why not try both and see which works best for you?

Method One – Stovetop

The first method we will describe involves cooking your bulgur wheat in a pot on a stovetop.

Step 1

For every single cup of medium grain bulgur wheat, add one and three-quarter cups of liquid.

Your liquid can be boxed or canned broth mixed with water in an even ratio or you can use a stock paste such as Better Than Bouillon.

If you do use a stock paste, mix this with water and use around half of the amount suggested by the instructions on the label.

You should also add a generous pinch of salt for some flavor.

Step 2

Bring your bulgur and liquid mix to a simmer. Once it is simmering, cover your pan and allow it to simmer gently for around 10 minutes.

Step 3

After simmering for 10 minutes, turn off the heat. Allow the bulgur wheat to sit for another 10 minutes.

You should find that the grains have absorbed all of the liquid and the individual grains should now be soft and tender.

If this isn’t the case and the grains aren’t tender yet, put the lid back on the pot and allow the bulgur wheat to sit for another couple of minutes.

If your grains are tender enough for your tastes but all of the water hasn’t been absorbed, you can drain the liquid using a colander. Whether the grains are tender enough is a matter of personal taste.

Step 4

If you’re going to serve the bulgur wheat hot as part of a warm meal, you should fluff the grains with a fork before continuing with your meal preparation and serving.

However, if you’re looking to cool the bulgur wheat then remove it from the saucepan and spread it out on a rimmed baking sheet.

This will help it reach room temperature quicker and then you can continue with your preparation or storage.

Method 2 – No Cooking Required

Method 2 - No Cooking Required

This second method doesn’t require a stovetop, rice cooker, or similar appliance. It’s straightforward but does take longer than the stovetop method.

Step 1

Place as much bulgur wheat as you need into a heatproof bowl.

Step 2

Cover your bulgur wheat with boiling water. Make sure that the water covers all of the grains and that there is about an inch of extra water above the grains.

You can use stock instead of water if you wish, but make sure that it is boiling hot if you do.

Step 3

Place a plate or tea towel over the top of your bowl and leave for around 20 to 30 minutes. The grains should absorb all of the water during this time but if they don’t, leave until they do.

Step 4

As before, fluff the grains with a fork if you are looking to serve the bulgur wheat hot. If not, spread out the grains on a rimmed baking sheet until they reach room temperature.

How Do I Know When Bulgur Wheat Is Cooked?

Bulgur wheat is very similar to rice in several ways. The grains begin as hard grains but during the cooking process, they absorb liquid to become softer.

When cooked, the grains should have a chewy texture that has a little bite to them.

This is a personal preference, however, and some prefer their bulgur wheat to be completely soft. In some cases, such as when using bulgur wheat to make porridge, soft grains are preferable.

If you cook your bulgur wheat and find that it is still too firm for your tastes even after all of the water has been absorbed, simply add a little more water.

Give the bulgur wheat a few minutes to absorb the extra water and try it again.

Is Bulgur Wheat Healthier Than Rice?

We just stated that bulgur wheat and rice are similar in several ways and they are often used in similar recipes. However, which is healthier? 

There are many different types of rice available and some types are healthier than others and contain more nutrients.

The most popular type of rice in the US is white rice and when compared to white rice, bulgur wheat is healthier.

This is because white rice is a very processed form of rice. As it gets processed, it loses more of its nutrients. Bulgur wheat is less processed so it retains more of its nutrients.

Bulgur wheat is a great source of fiber and protein, as well as several vitamins and minerals.

Whole grains such as bulgur wheat can help to lower your blood pressure and help your digestive system, too.

You will also find that whole grains are great at making you feel fuller for longer and can help reduce your appetite.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we detailed two different ways to cook bulgur wheat. Both are very effective methods and the best one for you depends on the time you have available and your tastes.

Clara Howie
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