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In my kitchen, I have both assets and liabilities. The assets are (usually) dependable store-cupboard ingredients that I can really throw around and they’ll still behave by transforming into a wonderful meal. The liabilities are those of the fragile, expensive kind that must be treated one way only, or else it’s game over (I’m looking at you, rose water). Bulgur wheat, thankfully, is in the former category. Just throw over some hot water, cover with a tea towel, then mix in whatever vegetables you have for flavour, nuts for texture and herbs for freshness, and, voilà, dinner is served. Here’s to bulgur wheat.

Leek, almond and herb tabbouleh
Prep 15 min
Cook 25 min
Serves 4

200g bulgur wheat
Extra-virgin olive oil
75g flaked almonds
3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced paper-thin
2 large leeks (550g), trimmed and cut into ½cm coins
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (ie, from 1 lemon)
¾ tsp ground allspice
1¼ tsp fine sea salt
200g frozen petit pois, defrosted
20g Thai basil leaves, shredded
20g mint, leaves picked and shredded
20g fresh coriander, finely chopped

Half-fill and boil the kettle. Put the bulgur wheat in a heatproof bowl, add enough boiling water to cover by 4mm, then lay a clean tea towel on top and set aside.

Heat half a tablespoon of oil in a wide frying pan over a low to medium heat and, when hot, add the almonds. Stir-fry for about four minutes, until light caramel-brown, then tip into a bowl.

Add a couple of tablespoons of oil to the same frying pan and set it over a medium heat. When hot, add the garlic, fry for a couple of minutes, until golden brown, then add the leeks and a tablespoon of lemon juice, and cook for about eight minutes, until unravelled and soft. Add the allspice and a teaspoon of salt, stir through the peas and take off the heat.

Tip the leek and pea mixture into the bulgur wheat bowl, add the almonds, all the herbs, two more tablespoons of olive oil, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of lemon juice, and mix well. Taste, adjust the salt and lemon as you wish, and serve.