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Bulgur, sometimes referred to as cracked wheat, probably is best known as an ingredient in tabbouleh. But the staple grain in Middle Eastern cuisines is eminently versatile and can be used in soup, salads and pilafs, like this one. To produce bulgur, wheat berries are parcooked, dried and cracked, which means the grain is relatively quick to prepare, but hydration time and the amount of liquid depends on the fineness of the bulgur. We use nutty, toothsome coarse bulgur and pair it with meaty, savory mushrooms. To add herbaceousness, pungency and layers of spice—plus the fruity richness of olive oil—we whir up a batch of zhoug, a vibrant, pesto-like condiment said to be Yemeni in origin. We stir a little zhoug into the bulgur-mushroom mix and offer the rest at the table. Serve this as a light vegetarian main, topped with fried eggs, if you like, or offer it alongside grilled or roasted chicken, lamb or beef.
cups lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems (about 1 large bunch), roughly chopped
medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
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