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January 2022 Issue
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Spiced bulgur and halloumi pilaf

Crunchy nuts, sweet raisins, spicy fried onions and squeaky halloumi are tossed together in this fragrant pilaf.

Crunchy nuts, sweet raisins, spicy fried onions and squeaky halloumi are tossed together in this fragrant pilaf that looks like it took a lot more than just 15 minutes to create.

Though the ingredient list for this recipe looks daunting, it combines to create an appealing dish. The fresh herbs are important players; pick leaves at the last minute and wrap them in a damp tea towel so they’ll last the journey. And be sure to save the orange skin from your lunch and keep it handy – the peel will provide the perfect citrusy hit to this spiced bulgur bowl.

Time: 15min
Cost: $9
Serves: 2


  • Oil or butter
  • Orange zest/peel from one orange
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 cup bulgur wheat
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp oil or butter
  • 1 small red onion, finely sliced
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 zucchini, cut into half moons
  • ⅓ cup raisins
  • ⅓ cup slivered almonds
  • 200g halloumi, sliced into 8ish thick pieces
  • Fresh coriander leaves
  • Fresh mint leaves


At home: combine the cumin seeds, coriander seeds and chilli flakes into one small tupperware or ziplock bag, and combine the ground spices into a separate storage unit.

To make bulgur wheat: heat 1 tbsp oil in a pot and stir in the orange zest. Add the garlic, stir for 30sec, then add the cumin, coriander seeds and chilli flakes. Tip in the bulgur wheat, stirring well to mix everything together. Pour over the water and a good pinch of salt, bring to the boil then cover the pot with a lid, turn the heat down and let it simmer for 10min or until all the water has been absorbed. 

Remove from the heat and let it rest with the lid on for 5-10min while preparing the vegetables and halloumi.

Toast the ground spice mix in a pan until fragrant (2min). Add oil and onion and cook for about 5min, or until softened. Add cherry tomatoes and zucchini and cook until zucchini is tender enough to eat. Remove from the heat and tip into a bowl. Stir through the raisins and almonds. 

Return the pan to the heat and cook the halloumi slices for a few minutes on each side, flipping when the edges get nice and brown.

Fluff the bulgur wheat with a fork, fold in chopped coriander and mint and black pepper then distribute between two bowls. Top with the veggie mix and halloumi slices.