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Bulgur chickpea pilaf with chicken

Bulgur Chickpea Pilaf with Chicken (Burghul Bidfeen)

Bulgur wheat and chickpeas simmered in chicken broth, topped with shredded chicken.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Lebanese
Keyword Authentic, Comfort food, Soul food
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 6
Author Zaatar and Zaytoun


For the chicken broth

  • 1 quartered baby chicken or 2-3 chicken breasts
  • 1 onion peeled, halved
  • 1 carrot peeled
  • 2-3 cardamom pods
  • 5-7 black peppercorns
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 small cinnamon stick

For the Pilaf

  • 2 cups coarse bulgur wheat
  • 1 can chickpeas drained
  • 2 large onions chopped
  • 1 tsp 7 spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground caraway
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp salt approx


To make the chicken broth

  1. Flash fry the quartered chicken on high heat in a nonstick pan with a little regular olive oil for a few minutes
  2. Transfer to a large pot and add the peeled onion, carrot, cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and salt
  3. Boil around 1 litre of water in a kettle and add to the chicken pot. Bring to the boil again for a few minutes then simmer for around 45 minutes
  4. Once the stock has finished simmering, take out the chicken pieces and shred the meat. Cover and set
  5. Drain the remaining broth in a fine sieve and set aside

To make the pilaf

  1. Sauté 2 onions in a new pot with 1/4 cup of regular olive oil until golden
  2. Add the ground cinnamon and caraway, 7 spice, black pepper and approx 2 tsp of salt along with the bulgur wheat
  3. Sauté for another few minutes then add the drained can of chickpeas and enough broth to cover by 2cm (approx 3 cups)
  4. Bring to the boil then simmer for around half an hour until all the liquid has been absorbed, stirring every now and then to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pot
  5. Add the butter to the pilaf five minutes before the end and taste just before you turn the heat off. Adjust the salt as necessary
  6. Plate up the pilaf by adding the shredded chicken on top and serve with either yoghurt or salad

Recipe Notes

You can use 2-3 chicken breasts instead of a quartered chicken if you prefer.

You can also sprinkle on toasted nuts for extra flavour and texture.