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How to make a bulgur wheat, halloumi and harissa salad

BY Fliss Freeborn

26th Jul 2023 Recipes

How to make a bulgur wheat, halloumi and harissa salad

For those days when the weather is insistent on reminding us that although it may be summer, we do live in the UK, Fliss Freeborn's budget-friendly warm bulgur wheat, halloumi and harissa salad from her new book Do Yourself A Flavour is the perfect centre piece that will wow even the most sophisticated dinner party guests 

Bulgur wheat is one of those things that looks suspiciously expensive. But worry not, as if you go to the right place—specifically, your local Middle Eastern shop—you can pick up a kilo, dried, for around £1.25. This will make approximately three tonnes’ worth when cooked, which, in my mind, is excellent value for money.

That said, although still fairly budget-friendly, this recipe actually comes out as one of the most expensive in the book, because it uses lots of fresh herbs and a whole block of halloumi. You can substitute the bulgur wheat for rice, and the halloumi for tofu, but it’s the fresh herbs and harissa that really make it, so I’d not want to substitute those or it’d be something else entirely. You know what you can afford best.

I’ll leave it up to you if you feel like adding something Ottolenghi-like, such as pomegranate seeds or a grated aged artisan chopping board, but a little bit of sweetness from some dried fruit does make this pop.

Preparation time: 20 minutes 

Serves: 2, generously 

Bulgur what, halloumi and harissa salad Credit: Luke Albert 

Ingredients: 

150 g coarse bulgur wheat 

1 block of halloumi 

Olive oil for frying, plus an extra slug to serve 

1 tin of chickpeas, drained and tipped onto a pile of kitchen roll to soak up extra moisture 

2 tbsp harissa paste 

1/2 cucumber (use the rest in a big green salad with literally anything)

1/2 packet of coriander (25 g); use double parsley if coriander tastes soapy to you, poor thing 

1/2 packet of parsley (25 g) (Every other recipe in Do Yourself a Flavour uses fresh parsley, you won't be pushed to find a use for it)

1 tbsp lemon juice (from a real-life lemon or a bottle—it doesn't matter) 

Salt 

Optional extras: 

2 tbsp of either raisins, roughly chopped apricots or pomegranate seeds 

Method: 

1. Start by cooking your bulgur wheat in a medium-sized pan over a high heat with around two mugs of boiling water and a big pinch of salt for about 10 minutes. Think of it like rice if you’re unfamiliar.

2. While that’s cooking, chop your halloumi into slices, then halve each one so you have a nice stack of squares. Fry off these squares in a large, shallow frying pan over a medium-high heat with a little splash of oil, working in batches if your pan is only wee.

Drain any water that comes off the halloumi, as that’ll massively slow down your browning, then increase the heat to high and fry the halloumi until golden, turning when you need to. Once both sides are golden, keep the pan on the heat but remove the cheese and set aside.

3. Add a little more oil to the now-empty pan if you need to, then tip in the chickpeas, followed by the harissa paste. Fry for 4–6 minutes, stirring to coat the chickpeas all over with the paste. Hopefully the chickpeas are dry enough not to spit, but watch out and stand back if that does happen. Leave this mixture over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, while you dice your cucumber and very finely chop your herbs.

4. By this time, your bulgur wheat should be cooked through—try it. It should have a little bite but still be soft. If there’s any water left in the pan, drain it. Add the grains to a big serving bowl or mixing bowl. Next add the hot harissa chickpeas, stirring to coat everything nicely, then toss in your halloumi, your cucumbers, your chopped herbs and your fruit, if you’re using it. Drizzle over a tiny slug of olive oil, followed by the lemon juice, and serve.

cover of Do yourself a flavour by Fliss Freeborn

Credit: Luke Albert 

Recipe and images extracted from Do Yourself A Flavour by Fliss Freeborn (Ebury Press, £17.99)

Photography by Luke Albert

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