Cauliflower shwarma

Cauliflower shwarma

This obviously isn’t really a shawarma—there is no lamb and no fat—but it is a way of slow-cooking cauliflower that makes it feel substantial and tasty enough to warrant the association.

    • 1 medium cauliflower, leaves still attached
    • 3 tbsp olive oil
    • 3 generous tbsp spice mix (see below)
  1. For the spice mix:
    • 1 dried chili
    • 1 tbsp plus 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
    • 1 tbsp plus 1 3/4 tsp cumin seeds
    • 2 1/2 tsp ground allspice
    •  i2sn     i i 1/4 tsp white pepper
    • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  2. For the carmelized onions:
    • 1 heaped tsp sea salt
    • 2 large onions, peeled and sliced
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp sugar
  3. For the tahini dressing:
    • 1 lemon
    • Scant cup tahini paste
    • 1/2 cup water
  4. For the garnish:
    • 3 tbsp roasted pine nuts
    • 1 tsp sumac (Optional)
    • Crispy pita


    1. Preheat your oven to 375°F. Crack the dried chili open and shake out the seeds. Place the deseeded chili on a baking tray with the coriander and cumin seeds and roast for six minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool entirely on the tray. Crumble the chili between your fingers then grind all the roasted spices to a powder. Mix with dried ground spices and store in an airtight container.
    2. Increase oven temperature to 400°F. Place the whole cauliflower, leaves and all, in an ovenproof saucepan that fits it snugly. Fill the bottom of the pan with enough water to just cover the stem and leaves. Drizzle the oil all over the florets and sprinkle with the spice mix and sea salt—it will look like a lot, but you want a layer of spice as a crust. Place in the oven and roast for 1–1 1/2 hours. You will know it is cooked when you can insert a small knife through the center of the cauliflower all the way down into the stem and it goes in easily.
    3. While the cauliflower is cooking, place the sliced onions in a frying pan with the oil and salt and fry on a low heat until they start to soften and go golden. Add the sugar and continue cooking until the onions are caramelized and brown. Remove from the heat.
    4. Halve the lemon. Mix the tahini paste in a small bowl with the juice from one half of the lemon and the salt. Add 100ml of water (a little less than half a cup) and mix well. Continue mixing and adding water very slowly until the paste loosens to a creamy texture.
    5. Carefully lift the cooked cauliflower out of the water and cut it into thick slices, including the stem and the leaves, which will taste great after the slow-cooking.
    6. Divide the cauliflower between two plates. Squeeze the juice from the remaining half of the lemon all over, then top with the caramelized onions and tahini paste. Garnish with the pine nuts and the sumac (if using) and serve with the crispy flat bread.

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