This salad is associated with southeastern Anatolia, but it has spread all round the country, with regional variations. In my mother’s restaurant in Bodrum I learned to include pickles and pickle juice to add saltiness and contrast to the sweetness of the molasses. The trick here is to use just the right amount of boiling water—too little and the grain will be crunchy, too much and it will be mush. The Turkish name is strange—the word kısır literally means ‘infertile’, which is hardly the case here.
Score a shallow cross in the base of each tomato, then transfer to a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for 30 seconds, then plunge into cold water and peel the skin away from the cross. Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon. Finely chop.
Slice the chilli and remove the stalk and the seeds. Finely chop. Finely chop the cucumbers, parsley leaves, mint leaves and spring onions. Add all the chopped ingredients to the bulgur and mix well. Finally, add the gherkin juice, pepper, lemon juice and pomegranate molasses. Stir and serve the kısır in the bowl for people to help themselves.
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