Make Ahead

Wheatberry Kisir

August 14, 2011
0 Ratings
  • Serves 4-6
Author Notes

My sister came back from a year in Berlin raving about a Turkish tabboleh salad called kisir, made with pomegranate molasses. In the meantime, I've been experimenting with wheatberries, available from a local grower at my farmers market. It occurred to me that I could use whole wheatberries, rather than cracked and par-cooked bulgar, for a nutty kisir with extra bite. The sweet cherry tomatoes from my farmers market pulled together this salad with a hint of tomato paste, as well as harissa, cumin, and lemon, in the dressing. Note: I recently tinkered with this recipe some more after a kisir cooking lesson from my sister, and I like this version (with sauteed onions) even better. —Fairmount_market

What You'll Need
  • 3/4 cup wheatberries (soaked overnight, if you remember)
  • 2 tablespoons harissa
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 bunches parsley
  • 10 sprigs mint
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • juice from 1 large lemon
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  1. Rinse and drain the wheatberries and cook them by simmering in about 2 cups of salted water over low heat until tender but still firm, about 90 minutes. When they are tender, drain them if necessary, transfer them to a serving bowl, and stir in the harissa and tomato paste.
  2. Peel and dice the onion. Heat a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil, and then add the diced onions. Cook until they are thoroughly cooked through but do not let them brown. Add the cumin and cook for one more minute. Then pour the spiced onion oil over the wheatberries and mix.
  3. Scrape them into the bowl with the wheatberries and stir. Stir in the pomegranate molasses and lemon. Taste and add more lemon juice, salt, or harissa as desired.
  4. Peel the cucumber and chop it into lengthwise into quarters or sixths and then widthwise into 1/4 inch pieces. Halve or quarter the cherry tomatoes or chop the large tomatoes into 1/2 inch pieces. Fold the cucumbers and tomatoes into the dressed wheatberries. Serve at room temperature.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Sagegreen
  • creamtea
  • hardlikearmour
  • Fairmount_market
  • boulangere
I'm a biology professor and mother of two, and in my (limited) free time I love to cook, which is much more forgiving than laboratory science. Last year I helped start a farmers market in my neighborhood, and to promote it, I created a food blog: I enjoy the challenge of coming up with recipes for local, seasonal ingredients and finding fun ways to cook with my children.

10 Reviews

Sagegreen August 21, 2011
I love your rendition of this. Having lived in Berlin the year (right after the wall came down), I grew fond of many Turkish dishes I had there.
Fairmount_market August 23, 2011
Thanks Sagegreen. I've only visit Berlin several times (including the year the wall came down), but even in those short times I really developed a taste for the Turkish dishes, and got to reconnect with some of them again vicariously through my sister last year.
Dominica D. August 20, 2011
This recipe sounds delicious! I wonder if replacing the wheatberry with freekah or quinoa would change its flavour profile very much? It seems a bit difficult to get wheatberry or seed here in Australia. Has anyone out there made it with alternative grains?
Fairmount_market August 23, 2011
Kisir is usually made with fine bulgar, so in fact a finer grain like quinoa would probably taste closer to the original dish. I was just experimenting with wheatberries because I have a local source.
creamtea August 15, 2011
Yum. this is my kind of food! Actually, I have a Syrian recipe for a cracked wheat salad with tamarind paste and herbs that is similar. Not my own recipe however.
Fairmount_market August 15, 2011
Thanks creamtea. Your Syrian version sounds delicious.
hardlikearmour August 15, 2011
Wow, F_M! This sounds fabulous, and I need it for lunch tomorrow. Think you could run some up to Portland? ;)
Fairmount_market August 15, 2011
I wish I could, but we gobbled it all up!
Fairmount_market August 14, 2011
Thanks boulangere. I've definitely benefited vicariously from my sister's stay in Berlin.
boulangere August 14, 2011
Those *foreign* influences are very enlightening. Beautiful interpretation.