Berber & Q reveals how to make its iconic cauliflower shawarma

Not done your weekly shop yet? You’re going to want to update it with all of the below. Berber & Q has revealed how to make its delicious cauliflower shawarma at home – and doing it is going to make your bank holiday weekend 1,000 percent better (approximately). This cauli-feast is a smoky, flavour-packed vegetarian dinner, with a vibrant garnish, that is especially perfect for anyone getting their barbecue out. This recipe serves 2-4 people. 

Cauliflower shawarma 

What you need 

One whole cauliflower

80g raw tahini

½ tbsp Maldon salt

For the shawarma spice mix

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tbsp sumac

1½ tsp ground cumin

Pinch of pimento (allspice)

Pinch of nutmeg

Pinch of ground cardamom

For the shawarma-spiced butter

40g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

One lemon, juiced

One garlic clove, minced

1½ tbsp coriander, finely chopped

For garnish

2 tbsp pomegranate seeds

1 tbsp pomegranate molasses (thinned down with water)

1½ tbsp pine nuts, toasted

1 tsp dried rose petals

1½ tbsp parsley, finely chopped

Green chillies, finely chopped

What you need to do 

1. Preheat the oven to 250C.

2. Trim the outer cauliflower leaves, but don’t be afraid to leave some on – they have great taste and add to the aesthetic of the dish when burnt and crisped on the barbecue or in the oven.

3. Place the cauliflower in enough salted water to cover and bring to the boil on a high heat. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat down to medium so it has a gentle roll, and continue to cook for approximately 8-10 minutes. The intention is to par-cook the cauliflower before finishing it in the oven. It should be removed from the water when pierced firmly with a knife whilst retaining some resistance.

4. Whilst the cauliflower is in the water, prepare the tahini. Whisk the tahini in a large bowl and gradually add ice-cold water. At first the tahini will form a lumpy paste, but continue to add liquid and keep whisking until it gradually turns into a smooth and silky sauce. The amount of water is determined by the individual preference for consistency.

5. Make shawarma-spiced butter by combining the softened butter, minced garlic, lemon juice and shawarma spice mix in a blender. Fold in the chopped coriander to combine.

6. Brush the cauliflower liberally all over with the butter, and where possible, try and get beneath the floret canopy to reach the inner sections of the cauliflower. Retain some of the butter for brushing at a later stage.

7. If using an oven, place the cauliflower in the oven for 6-8 minutes.

8. If barbecuing, prepare it for grilling. If using charcoal, bank the coal to one side for direct grilling and leave an area for indirect cooking. When the barbecue is searing hot, grill the cauliflower on direct heat until such time that it blackens on its outer edges. Turn the cauliflower throughout so as to ensure that it gets colouration all over. The aim is to burn the cauliflower in parts. This lends not only flavour, but also is pleasing on the eye and a key aspect of the presentation. Throughout the cooking process continue to brush with any leftover butter.

9. Once the cauliflower has been sufficiently grilled to satisfaction and is cooked through, remove from the heat and transfer to a plate. Spoon over the tahini sauce and pomegranate molasses, and finish the dish by sprinkling the rose petals, pine nuts and chopped parsley over the top. An optional drizzle of olive oil adds a nice glossy finish.

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