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Cauliflower Musukhan

A dish that I've never been able to devour in spite of how gorgeous and wonderful it looks and smells, is Musakhan, Masakhan, Mosakhan...). Chicken nestled in a pile of fried sumac spiced onions on top of some taboon bread (note that I've again used what I had in the kitchen today and is a regular wholemeal Arabic bread. Pita bread, pizza base, Focaccia bread would also work. I'll try work on a simple Taboon recipe and update this post at a later date.

The star ingredient of Musukhan is sumac, a traditional Middle Eastern sour lemon flavoured spice. And what a bright, shiny, tangy star it is!

If you have a mix of meat-eaters and veggie/vegans coming to eat then you can top some with some roast chicken and some with this cauliflower recipe and everyone is a winner. Just know that the meat Musakhan recipe does lots of flavourful things with the chicken, onions and bread through each stage of cooking so may/will not be comparable to a seasoned Arab home cook!

I can, however vouch for the fact that this cauliflower dish is ace and worthy of your time.








4 tbsp oil

1kg whole cauliflower

4 red onions (chopped small)

1/2 - 1 cup veggie stock

2 tbsp sumac

4 pieces of Taboon bread (or pizza bases, pitta, Arabic bread, Focaccia etc)

Pine nuts/slivered almonds for topping


4 tbsp oil

3+1 tbsp molasses

1.5 tbsp soy sauce

3 tbsp sumac


  1. Pre heat oven to 200°C

  2. Remove the stem of the cauliflower and break up in to fairly large florets and wash.

  3. Add the marinade mix to a zip lock bag big enough to fit the cauliflower florets.

  4. Now you have 2 options; for more moist florets par boil, dry off then marinade. For drier florets just bake. If par boiling: bring florets to a boil, drain immediately, pat dry then marinade. Drain florets again (there will lots of juice) and bake for 25 minutes. Remove and add more molasses and bake again until crisping up a little-not burning! (if florets aren't caramelising then pop them under the grill instead).

  5. If just baking: Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, remove from oven and toss. Place back in the oven and bake for a further 15-25 mins. (the molasses is prone to burning so keep your eye out and stop when necessary)

  6. Meanwhile chop the onions fairly small (not finely) and fry in 4 tbsp of oil. (This dish traditionally calls for the onions to swim in the oil which is delicious but for a lighter option add stock to the oil instead of all oil. When onions are translucent but not turning brown add the sumac. Simmer for 5 more mins. Remove from heat.

  7. Dip each piece of bread in to stock and oil and put into oven to warm and crisp up a bit.

  8. Cover each piece/portion of bread with the onions.

  9. Top with the caramelized cauliflower florets and serve while still nice and warm with a sprinkle of toasted nuts. (You can always put these back in to the oven to warm up before serving if anything has gone cold)

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