Recipe Source: Batmanglij, Najmieh. Silk Road Cooking. Mage Publishers, Washington D. C., 2004 p. 202
A lot of people have been concerned with carbohydrates for a long time. For a while there was the whole high-fat low-carb thing, or maybe it was high-fat and no-carb. Carbohydrates were bad, all of them, and no one should eat them ever. And then people seemed to sober up and then some carbs were bad, and it was all about net carbs. Coincidentally all phones became calculators at this point. Then I kind of lost track. High-carb low-fat, low-carb low-fat, fat-fat carb-carb, whatever. I stopped paying attention at all. My particular combination of metabolic concerns meant that none of the fad diets of the time were likely to be effective for me and frankly I'm always suspicious of any diet not for legitimate medical reasons (such as an allergy) that says "take this whole category of food and cut it out."
Plus, if you take an inherently high-starch, high-carbohydrate food like bread and then try to create a low-carb... bread... well... I'm sorry, that just cannot be good for you.
Maybe I'm just curmudgeonly. The current bugaboo is gluten. Celiac disease is a legitimate issue for a lot of people. I don't know if the problem is actually more prevalent now or if it's just more easily diagnosed now with modern technology and awareness and training, but it's a serious issue. Eliminating gluten has helped some other friends who have some other, non-celiac related health concerns and I respect that. I try to be considerate of their needs. It doesn't always work, partly because I'm not prepared to go gluten-free myself. There are some, I'm not sure if their numbers are increasing or if they're just a vocal minority, who have embraced the Paleo diet in which all cereal grains are eliminated from the diet. I know several people who have benefitted tremendously from this change, diabetics in particular. That's fine for them. If you're among them, this post is probably one you're going to want to skip.
It is not for you.
I've never been one to believe that carbs are bad. Yes, they have calories, and plenty of them. Accept that and take them into consideration when you plan your meals. If this dish has too many calories for you, or too many carbs for your particular health condition, don't eat it. I'm certainly not going to eat it on a day when I've been snowed in, sitting on the couch knitting and watching NCIS reruns. I made it on a day when my husband was out at a very intense workout. He's got the type of metabolism that absolutely requires carbs when he's active, lots and lots of carbs. My daughter seems to be the same. I took a small portion of this dish. They took the rest and that was fine.
I will admit that the sauce by itself could be a meal, or at least served without the pasta and be perfectly satisfying. Perhaps I'll serve it that way over the summer.
I made a few changes, as is my wont. I omitted the onion. There was a possibility that we were going to get a dinner guest that night. That guest has an issue with onions. He's usually okay with them when they're cooked, but I had made the main dish ahead of time and there were extra onions in that dish so I didn't want to overload the man. As it turns out he didn't join us, but that's okay. I increased the garlic a bit, and I added an extra chile pepper on general principles. (Out of respect for my daughter's preferences I did seed them.) My husband is allergic to mint, so I combined some sage and tarragon because that is what I had on hand. The results were pretty delicious if I do say so myself. They were, however, full of gluten and carbohydrates.
Yogurt and Bulgur Sauce (makes enough for pasta for about 6 people; approx. $1.28/ea)
1 cup fine bulgur
1/2 cup hot water
t tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 serrano chiles, seeded and chopped
7 garlic cloves, crushed
1 bunch fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
1/2 bunch fresh tarragon, finely chopped
2 cups Greek yogurt mixed with 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- Mixing bowl
- Saute pan
- Combine the bulgur and the water. Let stand 45 minutes. The original instructions said to drain it but I had nothing left to drain.
- Heat the oil in the saute pan.
- Add the seeds. When they begin to splutter, add the garlic and chiles.
- Saute the aromatics for a bit, until they are softened. Add the herbs and saute for about a minute.
- Remove from heat and add the yogurt. Mix well.
- Stir the yogurt mixture into the bulgur. This will not be pretty. It will look like cheap spackle. It will, however, taste wonderful. I served it over whole wheat pasta.