Spiced salmon coulibiac

This make-ahead main of pastry-wrapped fish and rice is an extra-special way to serve seafood for a dinner party, spiced with cardamom, cloves and chilli

  • Prep:20 mins
    Cook:50 mins
    plus cooling
  • Serves 8
  • More effort

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 647
  • fat 37g
  • saturates 12g
  • carbs 45g
  • sugars 3g
  • fibre 1g
  • protein 33g
  • salt 0.9g


  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 3 cloves
  • thumb-sized piece ginger, cut into large chunks
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 140g basmati rice, soaked in cold water for 30 mins, then drained
  • 1 bay leaf
  • small pack coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, seeds kept in, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp mango chutney
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 x 320g packs ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 2 x 500g whole salmon fillets, skin removed and pin-boned
  • 2 large egg yolk, lightly beaten


Get ahead

This is a great main for Christmas Day as it can all be made in advance. The unbaked coulibiac can be kept in the fridge for up to a day or, if the salmon has not been previously frozen, you can put it in the freezer for up to 2 months.


  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the onion, garlic, cardamom, cinnamon, fennel, star anise, fenugreek, cloves, ginger and 1 tsp garam masala. Cook over a medium heat until the onion is a deep golden brown. Add the rice with 250ml water and the bay leaf, and season with salt. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for 15 mins or until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is light and fluffy. Remove from the heat, tip into a bowl and leave to cool. Once cooled, remove the cardamom, cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves, ginger and bay leaf. Add the coriander, chilli, mango chutney and lemon juice. Check the seasoning, cover and chill until needed.

  2. Take the pastry out of the fridge and leave at room temperature for 10 mins. Unroll the pastry sheets, roll out to make a little wider and put each on a non-stick baking sheet. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge to re-chill for 30 mins. Season the salmon on both sides with a little salt and pepper and the rest of the garam masala, then place one piece of salmon on one piece of pastry and cover with half of the rice mixture. Top with the other piece of salmon, then brush around the pastry edges with beaten egg. Cover with the second piece of pastry, pushing down well, then roll the edges over, crimp with a fork to seal and decorate as you like. Can be made ahead and chilled for 1 day. Brush all over with beaten egg and chill for 30 mins.

  3. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Bake in the oven for 10 mins, then turn the oven down to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and continue to bake for about 30 mins until the pastry is golden brown. Set aside in a warm place to rest for 10 mins. Serve with the rest of the rice mix (heated or cold) and the Raita (see goes well with).

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