Saturday, 28 June 2014

Oriental Flowers

Cavolfiore Arrostito con Spezie Orientale "Chorba"
Baked Cauliflower with Oriental "Chorba" Spices

Cauliflower... nice, but hardly exciting, you might say. And you might well be right... But at the same time, it needn't be bland or boring either! This may not be a dish that will actually excite you, but it will please and satisfy and delight you! And that's saying something for a humble little veggie like this!

Having discovered and learned to live the way that roasted cauliflower tastes so much better than boiled, I decided to experiment with a new spice mix I had recently bought and see how much cooler a dish I could come up with rather than the typical same-old, same-old recipes... And behold! I got kinda lucky I guess, but the result was just wonderful!

The spices I used to flavor my cauliflower with were a blend, labelled "chorba", which I picked up out of curiosity at an ethnic supermarket a couple of weeks ago. I read the ingredients and thought, yep, that sounds good to me!

From what I can tell, "chorba's" tend to be soup or stew typed dishes in the orient and the spices are blends, similar to curries. The ingredients of my chorea powder were ginger, celery, oregano, bay leaf, nutmeg, turmeric and coriander... Which are all pretty harmless and all very delicious!And let me tell you... In this blend, they became much, much more than the sum of their parts... It was mild and exotic and really something special... You'll like it!

To prepare a half of a regular sized cauliflower, you will need 3 tablespoons of yogurt, 1 teaspoon of tahini, 1 heaped teaspoon of chorba powder, the juice of a lime, 1 tablespoon each of both pine nuts and raisins and some fresh marjoram to garnish and enhance the finished product... Yummy!

This would make a great side dish to any summer meal- grilled meat or fish, even meatballs or burgers, chicken or even shrimp... This would be perfect for almost every occasion as it is so mild but so delicious!

Start off by cutting the cauliflower into nice, thick slices, making sure not to chop out the main stalk... Which of course holds everything together!

And of course, you are going to need to stir up a little spicy marinade! Stir the 3 tablespoons of yogurt together with 1 tablespoon each of tahini and chorba powder.

Once everything is blended together add the lime juice little by little and soon enough you will have a nice smooth marinade, ready to go!

I decided to steam the cauliflower for 5-6 minutes prior to baking in order to speed things up a little, but you can blanch or boil yours too of course.

After 5 minutes of steaming I popped them into the oven with a good drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt for around 10 minutes at the top of the oven set to the highest temperature.

Once the cauliflower begins to change color, flip it over and add the marinade, before popping it back into the oven.

After 15-20 minutes at the highest setting, the cauliflower will look like this and smell amazing! Word!

Th finishing touch was a generous sprinkle of fresh marjoram which was SO aromatic and some toasted pine nuts... What a great combination!

The sweetness of both the cauliflower and the raisins, the crunch of the pine nuts and the fresh, tanginess of the marjoram were like the reunion of long-lost brothers... So terrific!

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