Bulgur patties in tomato garlic sauce

You know someone from Adana is here in Charlotte when this dish shows up at our get-togethers. She is the mom of one of my friends and comes here every year to visit them. When she is here, of course, we have the pleasure to taste variety of regional dishes from Adana.


She makes these patties really tiny, and the sauce is always tomato based but the additions changes based on what her little heart desires at that time. My sauce turned out great but the patties were a little big. You have to make them a bit bigger than hazelnut size. That way, it is gone in one bite. I got lazy and made them almost walnut size, which became a bit bigger when cooked. Then it was not a bite size anymore. So try to go as small as you can when shaping these patties.

Once you round up a small ball, make a thumbprint or dimple in your ball. But you can leave them as little balls which would be easier to maintain the shape without any cracking.

I think this will be made quite often this summer at my house as it can be served at room temperature and made ahead in the morning or the night before. I will go for anything that makes summer easier!



Bulgur Patties in Tomato Garlic Sauce

  • 1 cup fine bulgur (uncooked)
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper paste (you can substitute tomato paste)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Several tablespoons warm water


  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion (finely diced or grated)
  • 2 green onions (finely chopped)
  • 4 medium size garlic cloves (grated or pressed) (This dish is supposed to be very garlicky, so you can add more).
  • 1-1/2 large ripe tomatoes (grated)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon red pepper or tomato paste
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice from 1 small lemon or half of one large lemon
  • Half bunch of Italian parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1 big Cubanella pepper (optional – finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dry mint (you can substitute fresh mint after assembled)

1. Pour hot water over bulgur, cover and wait for 15 minutes.

2. Add salt, pepper, red pepper paste to bulgur, distribute the the paste well. Add egg, stir.

3. Add flour and make ball. If bulgur is still breaking, add a tablespoon water at a time until you can pat the mixture into a ball.

4. Boil 6 cups of water in a wide pot.

5. Make small hazelnut size balls, and make a thumbprint on them.

6. Drop enough in the boiling water not to overcrowd. In about ten minutes or so they will start coming up towards surface. That means they are cooked.

7. Transfer them onto a platter about 1 inch deep with a slotted spoon.

8. Heat olive oil in a saute pan, add onions and garlic. Saute until onions soften. Add cubanella pepper if using. s

9. Add grated tomato and paste, stir until all combined. Cook for another 10 minutes on medium-low heat.

10. Add lemon juice and spices. Stir. Add parsley. After a minute , turn off the heat.

11. Add fresh mint if using.

12. Pour over the patties, let it come to room temperature.




  1. by john@kitchenriffs
    5:52 pm
    Apr 21, 2013

    Great recipe! These are new to me, but look wonderful. I like a garlicky tomato sauce, so this is perfect. Really good stuff – thanks so much.

  2. by Angie@Angie's Recipes
    12:24 pm
    Apr 22, 2013

    wow..these bulgur patties look mouthwatering! Great clicks, Ilke.

  3. by Heidi
    5:45 pm
    Apr 22, 2013

    OOH!!! can’t wait to make these!! they sound delish! thanks for the recipe Ilke.

  4. by Susan
    6:04 pm
    Apr 22, 2013

    The bulgur patties and sauce sound wonderful! I’m all for make-ahead in the warmer months too and with fresh, garden tomatoes – wow.

  5. by Ozlem's Turkish Table
    5:31 pm
    Apr 24, 2013

    Merhaba Ilke; these patties look so inviting – so nice you could get together and enjoy this delicious bite, I know how precious it is :) loved the sauce too!

  6. by zerrin
    1:46 pm
    Apr 25, 2013

    Oh! This is one of my mom’s specialties too! You make me crave for these scrumptious patties! Would love to dig in a slice of bread into that garlic sauce! And you know I’m pregnant! How can I suppress my appetite now?

  7. by Dana
    9:47 pm
    Sep 16, 2013

    Quick question….are these considered a main dish or side? If side what else goes with them? Thanks

  8. by Ilke
    9:54 pm
    Sep 16, 2013

    I ate it as main dish because they are very filling and we are trying to cut down on meat etc.
    However, if you make them small, you can pair it with grilled or roasted chicken in my opinion. But it is my preference. You can pair it with grilled meat too, since it has a lot of sauce, would keep the meat simple.
    I would not use any more starchy dish to pair it with, keep it light with a green salad, spinach salad or something like that. I also stay away from the bean-dishes when there is bulgur as they both are very filling.

  9. by cali
    7:11 pm
    Dec 30, 2013

    Hi Ilke can you use course Bulgar?

  10. by Ilke
    9:15 am
    Dec 31, 2013

    Yes, you might want to use a bit more water to fluff it at first.

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