April 2023

Bulgar Pilaf

April 20: National Wheat Day

We enjoy eating different stir fried rice dishes, biryanis and pilafs. So we were intrigued to try an Armenian dish made with bulgur, a type of wheat that resembles quinoa, couscous and orzo. With garbanzo beans and apricots added to the bulgur, these ingredients add a unique blend of savory and sweet as well as texture to this tasty side dish. Serve this bulgur pilaf with salad, kebabs and an apricot cake dessert (perok) for a full Armenian meal. But we do not mind eating the pilaf by itself! Try Armenian bulgur pilaf for a delicious different side dish on National Wheat Day.

(Adapted from The Armenian Kitchen)


  • 2 butter, divided use
  • 1 cup bulgur (#2)
  • 2 cups chicken broth or water
  • ¼ cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder 
  • 1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans/chickpeas, drained and rinsed 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parsley (optional garnish)


In a pot, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Stir in the bulgur until well coated with the butter. Pour in the broth or water. Bring to a boil and stir. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the broth or water has been absorbed. Uncover the pot and fluff up the bulgur. Set aside.

Chop up the dried apricots and onions. In a large non-stick skillet, melt the remaining butter. Sauté the garlic and onions until soft. 

Add the curry powder, chopped apricots and drained garbanzo beans/chickpeas. Mix in the cooked bulgur. Cover the skillet and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Uncover and fluff up the pilaf. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Let the dish rest for around 10 more minutes before serving. Garnish with parsley if desired.


  • Substitutions include olive oil for the butter, vegetable broth for the chicken broth and water and ground cumin for the curry powder. 
  • Search our blog for other recipes containing wheat in observance of National Wheat Day.

HI Cookery is 13!

Ah…the number 13 is considered unlucky. And perhaps it reflects our past year when it was Highlander’s turn to deal his own health issues (which required hospitalization and surgeries—yes, plural). We also got mild COVID last fall, though we have been vaxxed and boosted. What a stressful time yet we are trying to do what we can to still keep living life to the fullest!

Cooking has been a wonderful distraction from the stress. Trying new recipes and sharing them have been quite therapeutic mentally and physically. We reiterate that this little blog has never ever been for fame and fortune. We still get a few offers to be featured on other media and be monetized through affiliations. No, thank you! We are fine doing our own thing—and appreciate the unsolicited validation from our supporters. Yes, thank you!

This year, we added under our Theme Menus tab a section for “Oodles of Noodles”. In some cultures, noodles symbolize longevity. As we are getting older now and facing all the age-related issues, we pray for many more happy and healthy years ahead. Just us reaching our senior years is a blessing.

And HI Cookery turning 13 is…lucky!

Tapadh leat! Mahalo! Thanks!

Highlander and Islander

Beef Empanadas (Argentinean-Style)

April 8: National Empanada Day

We have blogged before about Filipino empanadas. Now here is something similar from Argentina. Their common colonial country—Spain—influenced this recipe. The seasonings and additional fillings are slightly different (the Filipino empanada has potatoes and this one has boiled eggs). But these portable pockets of pastry filled with beef make the perfect snack, appetizer or light lunch. For National Empanada Day, try these Argentinean-style beef empanadas.

(Adapted from Goya)


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Pinch of crushed red peppers
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • Adobo all-purpose seasoning
  • 2 eggs, hardboiled and chopped
  • ¼ cup raisins, soaked in hot water for a few minutes then drained
  • 1 egg + 2 teaspoons water, lightly beaten
  • 2 packages puff pastry dough for turnovers, thawed (we used Goya brand)


In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Sautee the onions until soft and translucent (around 7 minutes). Add the garlic and paprika.

Stir in the cumin and crushed red pepper. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Season with adobo to taste.

Mix in the raisins. Remove the ground beef mixture and transfer to a bowl. Chop the boiled eggs and add to the mixture. Meanwhile, beat together the egg wash (1 egg + 2 teaspoons of water). 

Place the dough on the pastry press. Fill with the meat mixture. Brush the edges with the egg wash. Press to seal.  Carefully remove the empanada and place on a waxed paper-lined tray. Brush the tops with egg wash (optional). Finish assembling all the other empanadas. At this point, they may be frozen.

Place empanadas a baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for around 20 minutes or until golden brown and the filling is hot and cooked through. 


  • Latino adobo seasoning (spices) is completely different than the Filipino adobo (braised meat stewed in a soy-vinegar sauce) dish.
  • It is optional to add ¼ cup chopped manzanilla olives stuffed with minced pimientos in this Argentinean-style beef empanada recipe to enhance its Latin flavor and flair.

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