Ahu’s Anatolian Spicy Bulgur Pilaf

Asli and Ahu

On the anniversary of losing her twin sister Ahu, Aslı Akyürek shares her Anatolian spicy bulgur pilaf from the Ovarian Cancer Action recipe book.

"Today is Ahu's anniversary so I thought it would be a really special way to honour her on this day.  It has been four years since I lost her to ovarian cancer at age 38 and there's not a single day when I don't think about her. It's what you leave behind you when you go.

I would like to share Ahu’s recipe on the anniversary because it is a Turkish delicacy; bulgur wheat with authentic spices, fresh local herbs and, most of all, it contains her sparkling spirit.

It is a meal in itself, nutritious, easy to cook but it needs a little bit of a magic touch.

It's soothing and encouraging to think that someday, people out there might enjoy cooking and sharing Ahu’s Anatolian spicy bulgur pilaf with their loved ones too.

I hope 'her recipe for life' may inspire everyone."


  • 100ml olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 green peppers, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 10ml chilli pepper paste
  • 400g coarse bulgur
  • 600ml hot water (not boiled)
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chilli pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp sumac 
  • Fresh herbs: parsley, dill, mint (to taste)Ahus spicy bulgar pilaf


Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and sauté the onion over a low heat until golden. Add the peppers, tomatoes, chilli pepper paste and coarse bulgur and continue to sauté. Add the hot water, salt and other spices. Boil for several minutes and then simmer until all the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the fresh herbs to your taste. Take the saucepan off the heat, lay a dry tea towel across the top of the pan and let it stand for 20 minutes.

Aslı's tip

This dish tastes great when served with yoghurt!

Find this recipe and lots more in the Her Recipes For Life cook book. Click here to find out how you can order your copy today!

Money raised from this Ovarian Cancer Action recipe book will go towards targeted and effective research into the cause and treatment of ovarian cancer at our Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre, ensuring a brighter future for future generations of women.