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Feb 5, 2011 09:15 AM

Ever tried eetch?

I just made my first batch if this armenian treat. It is bulgar ( or could be quinoa for GF) cooked in a simple very oniony tomato sauce. it is served hot or room temp and the sauce is absorbed by the grain so that it is the texture of tabouli, sort of. it is fabulous. I had never had it until a friend brought some from an Armenian deli and now we are hooked. MMMMM!

Maybe well known to other hounds, but a revelation to me.

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  1. ooh, I have a bag full of bulgur from Bob's Red Mill. Can you share a recipe, please? It sounds delicious.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Snorkelvik

      I put this together from various sources

      1 cup bulgar
      1 large onion, chopped
      4T olive oil
      1 large can chopped tomatoes with their juice, or a can of pureed tomatoes or tomato sauce
      juice of one lemon
      fresh parsley and or mint

      Saute onions until very soft, add tomato . cook for 5 minutes together. Add bulgar, cook 15 minutes or so until bulgar is done ( you could probably just let the bulgar sit in the sauce off the heat). THe liquid should be absorbed.
      Add lemon juice, stir. Top with herbs., salt and pepper to taste. eat hot or room temp.

      Some recipes call for pomegranate molasses , I don't have any but I bet it is good.

    2. I came across this in a local Armenian market, was hooked also, and determined to replicate it. Here's the recipe I use -


      1 onion, chopped
      1/2 c. oil
      1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
      2-3 lemons
      Salt, pepper, paprika
      1 c. (#1) fine "bulgur" (cracked wheat)
      1 red pepper, chopped
      1 green pepper, chopped

      Saute chopped peppers, chopped onion in 1/2 cup oil. Cook 1/2 hour. Add 1 can tomato sauce and 1 can water and juice of 2-3 lemons. Bring to a boil and add lots of paprika and black pepper. Add salt to taste (not necessary). Add 1 cup fine bulgur.

      Turn off heat. Let set, covered, until all liquid is absorbed. Add chopped parsley and scallions and mix together when serving. Can eat warm, room temp, or cold.

      1. Itch or Eech, is made many different ways. Here is how my family has always made it.

        1 cup of fine bulgar, has to be fine bulgar. (soak this in a large 28 oz.can of tomato sauce)
        1 large onion chopped fine
        3 to 4 scallions chopped fine
        1 bunch parsley chopped fine
        1 large green bell pepper chopped fine
        1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
        1/4 cup olive oil
        salt and pepper to taste
        cayenne pepper to taste (I like a spicy itch so I'm heavy on the cayeene)

        Throw everthing in a bowl and stir.

        Chill overnight so the bulghar can absorb the liquids.

        I've never seen a recipe for itch (eech) that requires cooking but i'm sure it's tasty.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Infomaniac

          I guess you wouldn't need to cook because bulgar doesn't need to cook. The recipes I see are basically recipes for sauce. Thanks. At the place we got ours they spell it eetch. Translating spelling from Armenian is tricky, I guess.

          1. re: magiesmom

            Translating Armenian is tricky, and I guess it depends on who's doing the translating.

            How are you eating it? I eat it as is, with pita chips, and sometimes in my salad, or rolled up in lavash bread with salad.

            I eat it more in the summer than I do in the winter but after seeing this post I just made a batch for tomorrow.

            1. re: Infomaniac

              I am enjoying it with lavash and also straight out of the bowl!. I used your recipe except I had some nice Spanish peppers which i added.

        2. My Grandparents were from Ourfa in today Turkey. Their version of "eech" is quite different.


          Soak 1 cup of fine bulgar wheat in warm water. Use enough water to completely cover the dry bulgar.
          While the bulgar is soaking, fry 2 large chopped onions in olive oil until light brown. Use as much oil as you wish. I personally use as little as possible.
          Chop 2 bunches of fresh parsley and one cup of green onion.
          When the onion is ready, the bulgar will have become soft and all the water absorbed. Don't worry if the bulgar is a little hard. It will later soften.
          Add the fried onion, parsley, green onion and 2 TBS of tomato paste to the bulgar and mix thoroughly.
          Add salt, black pepper and, most importantly, chili powder or dried hot red pepper.
          The hot fried onion and oil will warm up the mix and release the flavors. The meal will be ready to eat right away.
          I tried other variations of eech, but found this recipe to be the simplest and most tasteful.

          Measurements need not be strict and deviations will have little effect of flavor.

          Hope you like it.


          1 Reply
          1. re: RayJay

            Ah, İÇ Pilaf. A favorite here. My husband is Armenian. He's from Turkey and his family (he's the only one who has left Turkey) work very hard to keep their Armenian traditions due to being such a minority in Turkey. Nevertheless, the lines of culinary tradition get very blurred between Turkish and Armenian cooking, like much of the Middle East. There are tons of variations, but I disagree that it has little effect on flavor.

            My MIL and SIL first taught me how to make iç pilav when they were making it specially for Y2K and they do it, actually yet another way that is different from all of the above. "İç", by the way, means "stuffing", so this is made to go inside a bird when you are cooking it. I make it as just a side dish, but it is special at a holiday where you are stuffing a bird such as cornish hens, chickens, or (ironically not found often in Turkey) turkeys. The way I learned the recipe is with rice, but I've seen them do it with bulghur, too. It is always cooked. First, you sautee chicken livers, onions, cumin, pine nuts, s&p and dill. Saute the grain in the oil until it starts to toast. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil (2-1 ratio liquid to grain). Once it boils, immediately bring to a mere simmer, cover and do.not.touch. After about 20 minutes, the liquid is absorbed. Take off of heat, place a paper towel under the lid to help absorb extra moisture, and let sit another 10 minutes or so. Ready to go. Whether it is done with bulghur or rice, it's cooked the same way.

            I almost always make this with rice, but do not use chicken livers and vary the herb used. Sometimes I add sundried tomatoes (my own variation... not one I've ever seen my SIL do), but never any other type of tomato. And if I use a pepper, it is the very thin-skinned banana peppers like they have in Turkey/Armenia. I rarely use it as true iç pilav in the sense that I use it as stuffing.

          2. Am loving this thread. Lots of Armenians here in Boston area; very active community.

            This recipe comes from a take out place on newbury st, Boston that no
            longer exists, rudee's. They called it Bazergahn.
            It must be related to ech but it is very different from all the recipes above in that it's essential ingreds are tamarind paste and cumin and tomato paste and sauce.
            In my 30 business, I called it Mexican Tabooli because of all the
            cumin. we served it as a spread w/ taco chips and pita toasts.
            the tamarind is essential;the only kind to use comes from an indian store.
            It is a very thick (like tar) paste in a red lidded plastic jar with a red and yellow label.
            Don't use the block form or the indonesian kind which are both v different.

            email me w any questions. I don't recommend freezing it bec the texture gets
            weird mushy. It has a refrig shelf life of 1-2 weeks.



            2 C (10oz) fine Bulghur

            1/4C Minced Onion (by hand)

            6T Tomato Paste

            8 oz Tomato Sauce (canned)

            ½ C Vegetable Oil

            1 T Tamarind Paste

            4 tsp Ground Toasted Cumin

            ½ tsp Cayenne

            salt and pepper

            ½- 1 C Toasted Pinenuts

            1 C Minced Flat Parsley(soaked and dried first)

            Cover bulghur with hot water by 1". Soak ½-1 hr or until all water is absorbed. pour out any remaining liquid.
            Squeeze some bulghur. if liquid results, squeeze it by handfuls to remove extra liquid.
            Add a little HOT water to tamarind paste and work it with your finger til it
            dissolves/ blends with the water.

            Whisk to blend all wet ingredients and spices, whisking in oil at the end.
            add this mixture to the bulghur.
            Adjust seasoning. You might like more cayenne or cumin. Add onion, pinenuts and parsley.

            fyi, tamarind is the acidic taste equivalent to lemon juice but you don't
            have to refrig it