Bulgur salad with preserved lemon chicken

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One of my favourite grains is bulgur. I always have at least 1 bag at home. Mainly I use it in salads, combining it with all sorts of vegetables. Recently I bought very juicy Medjool dates while shopping and once back home I had to decide what exactly I wanted to use them for. It took only a few minutes brainstorming to come up with the following recipe. Since then I have made this recipe a couple of times. Hope you will find it as tasty as I do.

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Bulgur salad with preserved lemon chicken

250g bulgur

500g vegetable broth

1 red onion, halved and sliced

6 Medjool dates, stone removed, cut into long stripes

100g pine nuts or chopped pistachios

1 garlic, finely chopped

3 tbsp white wine vinegar

2 heaped tbsp harissa paste

Salt and pepper, to taste

Olive oil, for drizzling 

For the chicken breast:

2 skinless chicken breasts

4 garlic, crushed and chopped

1 big preserved lemon or 2-3 small ones, chopped

1 pack coriander, chopped (including stems), keep some leaves aside for decoration 

Lemon juice, to taste

100ml olive oil, for marinating 

First marinate the chicken breasts. Put all the ingredients for the chicken including the chicken breasts into a large freezer bag. Let most of the air out and close the bag with a knot. Now massage the chicken with the oil, lemons, garlic and coriander. Leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 180C fan.

Bring the bulgur with the vegetable broth to a boil and simmer with a lid on, over low heat for 15-20 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Transfer to a big bowl and use a fork to fluff it up.

For the salad, fry the nuts in a dry pan until they turn golden brown. Keep an eye on them and shake frequently so they don’t get burned. Once done, put them into a bowl and set aside. Use the same pan putting 2-3 tbsp of olive oil into it and sweat the onions with a pinch of salt over a medium heat until soft. Add the chopped garlic and fry for 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine vinegar. Tip the onions, dates, pistachios and the harissa paste into the bulgur and mix well.

Use the same pan to fry the chicken with all the marinade, both sides 3 minutes then transfer all of it onto a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Place the chicken onto a plate to rest, while mixing the marinate into the bulgur salad. Season to tase with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Divide the salad between two plates. Cut the chicken into slices and lay on top of the salad. Drizzle with some olive oil, decorate with the leftover coriander and serve. I like to eat my portion with plain yoghurt on the side.

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Instead of putting the chicken on top, you can cut the chicken into smaller pieces and mix it under the salad.

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It’s also very tasty without any chicken!

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Red Thai curry paste

Thai red curry paste

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Some of you have asked me if I quit posting after just starting…No worries I am still here, ready to cook and post. The reason for not posting: I have been on a fabulous family holiday to various destinations in Asia. We started in Singapore, followed by Vietnam and then to Thailand, Bangkok and Koh Samui. I have seen so many great things and took thousands of photos, but this is not a travel blog, it is all about food. And yes, we had the most delicious food in all of the places. While being in Koh Samui we did a tour around the island with a guide and at the very end she showed us how to make authentic red Thai curry paste. There are plenty of different recipes for curry paste, each family has their own. I took some photos while she was making the paste and this is the recipe I will share with you.

 Thai red curry paste

2 tbsp dry red little chillies

3 shallots, sliced

6  cloves garlic

1 tbsp sliced lemongrass

1 tbsp sliced galangal

5 cm turmeric root, sliced

3 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced

1 tbsp black pepper corns

1 tsp salt

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Put all ingredients into a mortar and start pounding with the pestle until you have a fine paste.

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You can use this paste now to make your Thai red curry. Heat some oil in a pot add 1 tbsp of the paste and fry for 1-2 minutes. Stir in 1 can of coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Cut 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts into pieces, add into the sauce and simmer for 5-7 minutes or until fully cooked. Season with salt, or even better with fish sauce, and a bit of sugar. Serve with steamed rice.

You can freeze the leftover paste for up to 2 months.