Squid and Bulgur Wheat Risotto Bites with Lemon Aioli

Cephalopods recipes

Squid and Bulgur Wheat Risotto Bites with Lemon Aioli

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As bulgur wheat is one of the oldest and most popular grains in Greek cuisine, it replaces the traditional Italian Arborio rice in this risotto that is used to form these delicious Greek-inspired bites of flavour. With the addition of fresh mint, dill, feta cheese and pine nuts the bites burst with a fresh and nutty flavour. The tangy lemon aioli is the perfect accompaniment for these bites to serve as part of a Mediterranean mezze platter.

Makes 70

Difficulty: A little effort

Preparation time: 40 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes


Recipe by: Karla Visser

Image by: Robin Manktelow

Wine pairing by: Daniel de Vos


1-2 horas


handful lemon wedges


  1. For the lemon aioli, combine the egg yolks, mustard, sugar, zest, vinegar, garlic and salt in a food processor and blend, 30 seconds. Slowly pour in the oil, in a steady stream while the motor is running, and continue until all of the oil is incorporated and the aioli is thick and creamy. Blend in the lemon juice.
  2. For the risotto bites, heat the oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, salt and pepper and sauté until soft, 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté, 1 minute.
  3. Add the bulgur wheat and thyme and cook, 5 minutes. Stir in the white wine and cook while continuously stirring, 2 minutes. Take 125ml of the warm stock and mix it with the cornstarch. Set aside.
  4. Add a ladleful of warm stock to the bulgur wheat mixture, stirring regularly between additions until fully absorbed. Continue until all of the stock has been absorbed. Add the cornstarch mixture to the risotto and cook, 3 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. Cool, 10 minutes. Stir in the feta, pine nuts, mint and dill.
  5. For the squid, season the medallions with the salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large pan over high heat. Fry the squid medallions, 40 seconds per side. Cool, 5 minutes. Slice each medallion in half, lengthwise, and cut into ½cm x ½cm cubes. Add it to the risotto.
  6. Shape the risotto into 70 x 30g balls.
  7. For the crust, roll each ball into the flour and shake off the excess. Dip each ball into the whisked eggs and lastly into the panko crumbs to coat evenly.
  8. Heat the oil for deep-frying to 180°C. Deep-fry the bites until golden and crisp, 3 minutes. Drain on kitchen paper.
  9. Sprinkle some dill over the risotto bites and serve it with the aioli and lemon wedges on the side.


TIP: The risotto mixture can also be eaten as is, without crumbing and frying, as a main course for 4-6 people.


Wine pairing: Pinot Noir, Elgin

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Recipe for 8 people



2 large egg yolks

10ml (2 tsp) Dijon mustard

20ml (4 tsp) castor sugar

10ml (2 tsp) lemon zest

10ml (2 tsp) white wine vinegar

½ (2g) clove garlic, finely chopped

5ml (1 tsp) salt

330ml (1⅓ cup) canola oil

45ml (3 tbsp) lemon juice



45ml (3 tbsp) olive oil

20ml (4 tsp) butter

1 (160g) medium onion, finely chopped

20ml (4 tsp) salt

10ml (2 tsp) black pepper, finely ground

30ml (2 tbsp) garlic, finely chopped

460g bulgur wheat

2 sprigs thyme

5ml (1 tsp) lemon zest

250ml (1 cup) white wine

1500ml (6 cups) fish stock, warm

30ml (2 tbsp) cornstarch

60ml (¼ cup) lemon juice

250ml (1 cup) feta, crumbled

125ml (½ cup) pine nuts, toasted and chopped

30ml (2 tbsp) mint, finely chopped

30ml (2 tbsp) dill, finely chopped + extra



400g Pescanova Natural squid medallions

15ml (1 tbsp) salt

5ml (1 tsp) black pepper, finely ground

30ml (2 tbsp) olive oil



250ml (1 cup) cake flour

4 large eggs, whisked

500ml (2 cups) panko crumbs

sunflower oil, for deep-frying