Spiced bulghar pilaf with fish

Spiced bulghar pilaf with fish

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(25 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 35 mins


Serves 4
Use sustainable white fish in this North African-inspired rice one-pot with harissa and apricot - full of iron, fibre and 2 of your 5 -a-day

Nutrition and extra info

  • Healthy

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal416
  • fat6g
  • saturates1g
  • carbs52g
  • sugars15g
  • fibre7g
  • protein37g
  • salt1g
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  • 1 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 2 onion, finely sliced



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 3 carrot, grated



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 2 tsp cumin seed
  • 2 tbsp harissa



    This hot, aromatic paste made from chilli and assorted other spices and herbs is spicy and…

  • 200g bulghar wheat
  • 6 dried apricot, chopped
  • 700ml weak chicken stock (we made using 1 stock cube)
  • 200g baby spinach
  • 4 firm white fish fillets
  • 4 thin lemon slices



    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…


  1. Heat the oil in a lidded flameproof casserole dish. Tip in the onions and cook for 10 mins until soft and golden. Add the carrots and cumin, and cook for 2 mins more. Stir through the harissa, bulghar and apricots, pour over the stock and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 7 mins.

  2. Add the spinach and stir through until just wilted. Arrange the fish fillets on top, pop a slice of lemon on each and season. Replace the lid and cook for 8 mins, keeping over a low-ish heat.

  3. Turn heat to low and cook for 7-8 mins more until the fish is cooked through and the bulghar is tender. Season with pepper and serve.

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Comments (35)

maisym00's picture

Took me much longer than the 10 minutes preparation time stated (it took me at least 5 minutes to grate the carrots). Having said that, it was a recipe that was fairly quick and easy with flavoursome results so I shall definitely be doing it again as a regular mid-week meal. I also like the fact that everything can be done in advance up to the stage of cooking the fish.
I used the 2 tbsp of harrisa as stated in the recipe and my family found it just right. It was only just enough in quantity to feed the three of us who were hime that night, but that's because we have unusually large appetites. I would say it is enough for four people with standard appetites.
I steamed the fish on top, as the recipe suggests, but I found it wasn't that successful. I found the fish was still not cooked when the bulghar wheat was and it also meant I couldn't stir it so the stuff at the bottom of the pan starting sticking and burning slightly. I think I'll pan fry the fish separately next time, even though that creates more washing up.
Made a refreshing change and was extremely tasty. Also very healthy.

SiNZ's picture

Did this tonight for dinner and guided by the comments below added a red capsicum and some frozen peas. Overall good but I do think it needs some additional seasoning. Next time I'll add a red chilli finely chopped. The dish itself is not dissimilar to a risotto with the texture of the bulghar wheat and grated carrot. I used monkfish (about 150g per fillet) and that works well as firm fish, but I did cut the final cooking short by around five minutes - you definitely need to watch the cooking progress of the fish and let that determine when done.

SiNZ's picture

Second time around, I doubled the harissa instead of going with a red chilli. I also used normal strength chicken stock instead of weak. And this time I used Tarakihi. Lovely.

Just watch the fish and ignore the time stated for cooking time in step 3; once the fish is in, you're done as soon as the fish is cooked.

kapatu's picture

Easy, fast and delicious!! Would maybe fry the fish next time as I found it a bit bland although our harissa certainly made up for it; was very hot so would have that amount next time. Overall a keeper though!!!!

cocochannel2711's picture

Made this with fish, and chicken, have used whatever veg we have in house and every time it's delicious! A family favourite which is great when in a hurry.

alliemma's picture

Yummy. Made this tonight, just used 1tbsp of harissa and it was plenty for us. Couldn't taste the carrots but good as hidden veg. Added red peppers and frozen peas. Would work with chicken.

colettegodfrey's picture

Great dish. Made with my own home made harrisa paste too ;-)

zachary82's picture

Great recipe. Though you can't really taste the carrot, it gives nice texture and colour. The flavour combination is great with the spicy Harissa and sweet apricots. One of my favourite weekend lunches :)

gillh007's picture

Just made this, really lovely taste. I used frozen bollock (Asda), chopped into bite sized, and added to the last ten mins,so all just one pot. The colours look great too. Will be freezing, will certainly make a great mid week meal, after work. Will do again.

wandafawl's picture

I think - kinda hope! - you might mean pollack...Not sure Asda would supply the other sort ;D

madmary66's picture

Wow, I didn't know that Asda stocked bollocks these days!!!

jaMarusia's picture

absolutely loved it!! I fried the fish though, because I don't like steamed, and I omitted apricots. It smelled lovely and tasted wonderfully. Will do it again soon, thank you for recipie!!

salma63's picture

Have cooked this recipe several times.Omit the apricots though.
Just tried with grated courgettes with the carrots .Lovely as usual

raven's picture

I have also just discovered that the leftovers (minus the fish) are really lovely for lunch the next day too - and friend was impressed too!

raven's picture

I have also just discovered that the leftovers (minus the fish) are really lovely for lunch the next day too - and friend was impressed too!

raven's picture

Really lovely, the whole family enjoyed this. Surprised it doesn't have more ratings. Fried the fish separately, as was in a hurry, and would do that again it was tasty. Only used 1 tbsp harissa which was just right. Really good way of getting veg in children as it's sweet and doesn't taste too carroty. (I don't like carrots or spinach but I loved this!)

ftlmcs's picture

Love this recipe, done it a few times. Agree that the leftovers are lovely, freezes well too!

foodie64mum's picture

I've just discovered that leftovers (minus the fish) are lovely eaten cold the next day!

foodie64mum's picture

Very tasty and easy - a perfect, and unusual, one-pan meal. I followed the recipe to the letter, apart from increasing the spinach to 260g as that's what I had. We didn't find it particularly spicy but the flavours were lovely, and the hake was gorgeously tender. I'll definitely make this again.

clairearblaster's picture

Fantastic, I used cous-cous as I couldn't find bulgar wheat and the flavours where just superb. I did pan fry my hake fillets as I am not too keen on steaming fish!


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