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Grilled whole snapper with burghul salad (samak mechoui bi salatat burghul) recipe

Feed the family with crisp-skinned and flaky fleshed snapper grilled to perfection and served with burghul.

Serves: 4 | Preparation: 30min | Cooking: 20min | Skill level: Easy

Chadi Ali


3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp sweet paprika
2 tbsp white vinegar
80 ml (⅓ cup) extra virgin olive oil
1.5 kg snapper, cleaned, flesh scored 3 times on each side
240 g (1½ cups) coarse burghul (see Note)
2 bunches rocket, stems trimmed, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 small lemons, juiced
2 tsp sumac (see Note)

Cook's notes
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified. 


Marinating time 30 minutes

Using a mortar and pestle, pound garlic with 1 tsp salt to a paste. Add cumin and paprika, and pound until just combined. Stir in vinegar and 2 tbs oil.

Rub spice mixture over snapper and inside cavity. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to marinate.

Meanwhile, place burghul in a heatproof bowl and pour in enough boiling water to cover by 1 cm. Cover and stand for 20 minutes or until burghul is tender and liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside for 10 minutes to cool.

Preheat barbecue to medium heat. Cook fish, with lid closed, for 10 minutes each side or until browned and cooked through.

Meanwhile, add the rocket, tomatoes, onion, parsley, lemon juice, sumac and remaining 2 tbsp oil to burghul. Season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Serve fish with salad.

  • Coarse burghul, available from select Middle Eastern food shops, has a larger grain than regular burghul (also known as bulgar to some Lebanese). Each grain is about half the size of a rice grain.
  • Sumac, from supermarkets, is a tangy reddish-brown Middle Eastern spice often used in marinades, salads and dressings.
Photography Tom Donald (Location) & Brett Stevens (Food)

Adopted from Feast magazine

More from the Lebanese Recipes Kitchen:

Spiced Fish Sayyadiya 
Grilled Fish
Fish Couscous with Onion T'faya  
Spicy Fish Lebanese Style    
Samaki Harra (Lebanese Chilli Fish)   
Mediterranean fish stew     

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