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Nadiya Hussain’s Squid Bulgur Wheat Risotto

Nadiya Hussain's twist on a risotto, as seen on her BBC series, Nadiya's Family Favourites, uses bulgur wheat instead of rice and is topped with crispy squid.

From the book


I love standing by the stove and stirring while something cooks slowly and gently. Much like a classic rice risotto, this recipe takes time and attention. It cannot be rushed. Or can it? In this instance, yes, it can a bit, as bulgur wheat takes less time to cook than traditional risotto rice. Using bulgur also gives this risottoextra bite and nuttiness. Topped with crispy squid, and with garlic mayo stirred through, it’s rich and a little bit special.

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For the bulgur wheat risotto:
150ml vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
½ tsp salt
2 tsp cumin seeds
250g bulgur wheat
1.2 ltrs fish stock
4 tbsp full-fat mayonnaise
3 cloves of garlic, grated
For the crispy squid:
4 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp plain flour
a large pinch of salt
1 tbsp paprika
300g squid rings, uncooked
To serve:
rocket leaves
juice of 1 lemon
olive oil


To make the risotto, put a large saucepan on the hob and turn the heat up to high. Pour the oil into the pan and when it’s hot add the onion. Cook until crisp and very dark but not burned. You can encourage this by just letting the onion sit in the oil and not stirring too much. If it start sto darken around the edges, give it a stir and leave to brown. This should take at least 5 minutes.

As soon as the onion is very brown, add the salt and cumin seeds. Add the bulgur wheat and cook it for about 5 minutes in the mixture, stirring all the time. It will catch and feel dry at the bottom of the pan, but all this will add flavour.

Have the stock at the ready. Keeping the pan on a high heat, add a ladle of stock at a time. Once it has all been absorbed and has evaporated, add some more. Keep doing this until all the stock has been used up. This can take up to 10 or even 20 minutes of stirring, so persevere. I promise it will be worth it!

Once most of the stock has been absorbed, the little liquid that remains should be thick, not watery. Take off the heat.

Mix the mayonnaise with the garlic and stir it into the risotto – this will make it rich and creamy and give it a whopping garlic kick.

For the crispy squid, place a frying pan on a high heat and add the oil. Mix the flour with the salt and paprika. Toss the squid in the flour mixture until all the rings are coated. Fry them in the hot oil in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan, then drain on kitchen paper. They should only take a few minutes on each side.

Serve the risotto topped with rocket leaves, a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of oil and with the crispy squid rings on top.


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From the book: Nadiya’s Family Favourites

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