One easy lunch
It’s October, and that means it’s time to get back to business. No more flouncing around Jeju for you (or me), and certainly no more late nights with gin, bourbon and the gang — there’s work to be done, deadlines to be met and bills to pay.
There are also lunches to be made — a lot of them. And unless you’re one of the lucky few whose job includes a totally awesome lunch, one that you’re willing to eat every single, bloody day (really?), you’re probably opening your cupboards each morning with a sigh. How many times have you made that sandwich? The one that would be amazing were it not for the lack of any real dill pickles? Are you really gonna eat at Pizza School for lunch until the end of time?
I should hope not. Instead, I’ve got someone you should meet: bulgur. You’ve probably seen it before, smothered in parsley and onion under the guise of “tabbouleh” (or “tabouli” or “tabbooli”) salad, but to consider bulgur as a single-dish phenomenon is to seriously discount its potential. Since bulgur comes to you pre-cooked — it consists of wheat berries that have been boiled, cracked and redried — cooking time is almost nill and more a matter of steeping than actually boiling. Long story short, it’s a cinch, it’s delish and it’s totally lunchable. (And it’s also not a pickle-less sandwich.)
Spicy bulgur salad with carrots and pumpkin seeds
Bulgur is available at most of the foreign marts in the Itaewon area, usually for less than 5,000 won. You can find it hanging out near the lentils and dried beans.
[ Ingredients ]
1 cup bulgur / 2 cups water / 2-3 medium carrots, shredded / 2 garlic stems, thinly sliced
1 tbsp lemon juice / 1 tbsp clear vinegar (any kind, just not balsamic) / 1 tbsp olive oil
Dash of hot sauce / Handful of pumpkin seeds / Handful of raisins (optional) / Salt and pepper to taste
[ Directions ]
Bring the water to boil and dump in the bulgur. Cover and cook for two minutes before removing the pot from the heat and setting it somewhere to steep. (Note: You can put a weight on the lid to help keep moisture in; something like an upturned coffee cup.) While the bulgur is steaming in its own lovely juices, shred the carrots and slice the garlic stems. Dump all the vegetables into a big bowl, one suitable for some fairly heavy-handed stirring, and then add the lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, hot sauce, pumpkin seeds and raisins if you want ‘em. By this time the bulgur should be almost ready — you want it chewy but not grainy — so go ahead and add it to the bowl. Stir everything well, then taste-and-season with salt and pepper. Serve it hold or cold, baby — it’s good both ways.