Zahav-inspired cauliflower soup
Friday, 10 Mar 2017


What I like to do with cauliflower is make soup. Usually it’s ‘Wisconsin’ cauliflower soup but lately it’s been a curried cauliflower soup from Soup for Syria.

Earlier this week I bought a head of cauliflower intending to roast it a la Zahav but I didn’t have a whole bunch of things: sweet paprika, jalapeno, tahini, coriander leaves. Instead I made a soup very similar to the curried cauliflower soup, but roasted with turmeric, cumin and baharat, and finished with lemon juice and hummus (only because I’d run out of tahini).

We had this with cheddar cheese toasties. The key to a toastie or grilled cheese is spreading mayo on the outside of the bread for crisp, even browning - a trick that’s apparently common, but which I learned from Ruth Reichl.

The soup was delicious but I’d like to try it again with tahini instead. I imagine it’ll lend a nutty creaminess without the slight heft of chickpeas that hummus has (and it’ll swirl beautifully in the yellow soup).

On this note I must also lament the end of Hubbub, a London-based grocery delivery service I used to get cheese from The French Comte, meat from butchers, and more pertinently, middle-eastern groceries from Phoenicia in Kentish Town, which is where my Lebanese tahini comes from. As far as I’m concerned, the most fabulous tahini comes from three countries: Lebanon, Palestine and Israel, besides which all other tahini seem gloppy and claggy.

I now need a new source, one close to me or one that delivers. While I was looking that up I came across something new, something I’d never seen before but now greatly desire. In Vice Munchies, none the less.

It’s black tahini, or qizha.

It’s black. It’s made from nigella seeds. It’s onion-minty-sweet. I need this shit.

Of course it seems to be unattainable outside the West freaking Bank.

But that’s cool. Because I read about something else I greatly desire (that seems less elusive): red tahini. I’m on a minor mission to seek it, a side quest, like in a video game.

I’d make it myself if I had a seed mill (or whatever it is they use) or a powerful-enough food processor. Maybe one day I’ll get some kind of mill, one that mills tiny little seeds into tahini-esque butters and fulfill all my tahini desires.

Zahav inspired roasted cauliflower soup


Serves 2

  • 1 cauliflower
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp baharat
  • 1 L stock
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp hummus

Preheat the oven to 200 deg C.

Clean and quarter the cauliflower.

Peel and slice garlic cloves.

Put the cauliflower, olive oil, garlic and spices in a large pot suitable for both oven and stove, like a Dutch oven. Roast for about 40 minutes.

After 40 minutes, turn off the oven and transfer the pot on the stove. Your cauliflower should be quite soft by now. Add stock (I made mine up with Marigold bouillon and water) and bring to the boil.

Turn the heat off and blitz the contents of the pot into soup.

To serve, fill two large bowls with soup. Squeeze half a lemon and stir a tablespoon of hummus in each bowl. Sprinkle with chilli flakes if you want.