Where there is a will there is a way

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Easy healthy and simple porridge for breakfast - how to prepare bulgar (instant wheat) and make it for a breakfast porridge


"Bulgar" is something I grew up with an awareness of as my parents made it.  I knew of it as hard clusters of cooked, dried wheat along a baking tray, but I didn't know its purpose.  I did know my Dad sometimes ate it on camping trips (when he hiked in the mountains, and slept in a tent).

My dad explained it to me on my visit home.  It's something they do in the Middle East, and you can buy it in shops, but my parents prepare it themselves at home.  The point of it is that after the wheat is cooked, it requires far less cooking time - instead of a cooking time of 10 minutes for uncooked ground wheat, it's pretty much instant - just add boiling water.

In the Middle East they use it as cous-cous in pilafs.  It can be used as rice is used; you can also add it to baking, add it to mince in burger patties, add it to soups.  But my dad usually just eats it as a healthy, simple porridge - and instant easy breakfast when camping (he even takes it in a plastic bag and just adds hot water in the bag and voila great survival skill).


Preparation: 

There are a few steps - very easy steps, but with a lot of time elapsing inbetween.

COOK THE RAW WHEAT

First you boil the wheat until it is soft and all the water is absorbed.  If you have a pressure cooker, it's easier as you pressure cook for 5 minutes, then just turn off the heat and leave it in the sealed pot for a few hours, or overnight (it will continue cooking in the pot).  If you don't have a pressure cooker you can also cook the wheat on low heat for a couple of hours (after the water gets up to boiling first, then turn it down to lower heat).  When both methods are done all the water should be absorbed into the wheat.

The right amount water varies for the pressure cooking vs the sauce pan way.  Here are the two ratios:

Pressure Cooker Method:  4 cups washed wheat to 6 cups water, pressure cook for 5 min then leave it in pot for a few hours or overnight.

Saucepan Method1 cup washed wheat to 3.5 cups water, cook in saucepan for 4-6 hours.


DRY THE COOKED WHEAT

After the wheat is cooked, soft, and all the water is absorbed, spread it out on large baking trays at 200-250 degrees F (93 degrees C) for 4-6 hours until completely dried.  You will need to stir it around once in awhile so it won't stick into clusters (how I often saw it growing up).


GRIND THE COOKED DRY WHEAT

After the cooked wheat has been dried, grind it coarsely.  It can now be used as a very easy to cook, far less sticky porridge - easier cleanup and it tastes better as a porridge too (than cooking raw ground wheat).  All the same nutrients are there, but it is now "fast food".

After eating this every morning at my parents house, taking part in this healthy, wholesome and happy lifestyle - I would like to prepare ground up bulgar each weekend to eat in the mornings at home during our busy lifestyle for our family, when both my husband and I are working.  The simpler wheat porridge breakfast (healthy with lots and lots of fibre, no packaging, and really cheap) will then be achievable.



EATING BULGAR

It's actually just a light, fluffy, healthy, yummy breakfast.

For every 1 cup of ground bulgar, use 3 cups of water.  First heat the water in a saucepan, and when the water boils, turn it down and add the ground wheat in a thin stream while stirring to prevent clumping.  My dad likes to add dried raisins to his bulgar, and 1 tsp salt.







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