It took me some time to begin writing on this blog after it was created good time ago. And it took me even more time to decide on the first recipe. I was thinking to myself; maybe I should start with the most classical Palestinian dish like Msakhan and Maqloubeh, or with a worldwide known one like Hummus and Falafel, or maybe with one of the basic everyday Palestinian food like Pickled Olives and Zatar (Thyme). Then I told myself, “Eman, simply start with your favorite dish!”. And here we go with Cauliflower in Tahini Sauce.
Cauliflower with Tahini Sauce is popular particularly in Palestine and generally in Levant. It’s a perfect winter dish made of healthy and tasty ingredients. One is Tahini, which is made of ground sesame seeds and is essential in East Mediterranean cooking. Adding rich flavor and texture to food, Tahini also provides good fatty acids, minerals and energy. Another ingredient is cauliflower, a cold season vegetable, usually produced in December and January. It is considered a rich source of Vitamin C and fibers. So it makes all the sense for these two ingredients to come together in one wintery dish.
In this recipe I use pan/shallow frying to cook cauliflower florets instead of deep frying for less oil intake. However roasting the florets would be the healthiest option. Also it’s good to mention here that this dish can be a vegetarian choice if you eliminate the beef from it.
- 1.5 kg cauliflower head
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 250 gram beef, minced (optional)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 12 cloves garlic, largely chopped
- 2 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoon cumin, divided
- 6 tablespoon tahini paste
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoon yogurt
- 2 tablespoon parsley, chopped
Cut the core and leaves off of the cauliflower head, then cut it into bite-size florets. Remove black spots that are located on the surface of florets using a small knife. Wash cauliflower florets thoroughly and dry them completely.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a saucepan, add minced beef and simmer over medium heat for 3 minutes, or until semi-cooked. Add chopped onions, garlic, 1 teaspoon of salt, black pepper, and 1 teaspoon of cumin. Stir into the mix, and then simmer for another 3 minutes on a reduced heat until onions are tender and beef is cooked.
In a different deep and large saucepan, bring 5 tablespoons of oil to heat, add the cauliflower florets and cover the pan. Leave the florets to cook over low heat for about 15 minutes or until they become golden. Turn them to cook on the other side for another 15 minutes or until florets are cooked and golden from both sides. Add another teaspoon of cumin and some salt to the cooked florets.
*Cooking over low temperature, covering the pan gives results similar to deep frying but with much less oil
On a blender, add tahini paste, lemon juice, yogurt, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 5 cups of water and blend together at a medium speed until it’s well blended and smooth.
*I prefer to use a blender but mixing the paste with other ingredients using a whisk does the job too.
In a medium size ovenproof dish, add cooked florets, beef mixture, and tahini sauce. Place in oven at 180 degrees for 60 minutes or until sauce is mostly absorbed. Serve hot with taboun or pita bread. Garnish with parsley.