Spiced Cauliflower Salad, Cumulus Inc

Today’s post is about reliving my fondest food memory. After all it has been more than a year since I last set foot on Melbourne soil (rectifying this soon). And more importantly, it’s also been more than a year since my last visit to Cumulus Inc, my favourite restaurant in the CBD of Melbourne (this may be slightly biased by the way but I guess many would still agree).

Cumulus Inc is an all-day casual restaurant located in Flinders Lane, owned by Chef Andrew McConnell (who also owns 2 other well-known restaurants Cutlet & Co and Golden Fields). The food there is what I would describe as iconic Melbournian food: not overly complicated but made with great produce. Most dishes showcase the natural flavours of ingredients, with influences from various cuisines. The signature dishes include Shakshouka (for breakfast), Tuna Tartare with Green Pea Salad, Whole Roasted Lamb Shoulder, the most delicious Lemon Curd Madeleine and of course my favourite dish: Middle Eastern style Spiced Cauliflower Salad with Goat’s Curd; a must order every visit.

Spiced Cauliflower Salad, home version.
Spiced Cauliflower Salad, home version.

Cauliflower is not the tastiest vegetable around but Cumulus Inc dressed it up so well it’s simply irresistible with spices, tangy, sweet and savoury combination and creamy goat’s curd. I had a strong craving the other day and decided to replicate the dish at home. The only problem I encountered is the difficulty of obtaining goat’s curd locally. If anyone know where I get find that in Klang Valley please let me know! But I must say the dish is still fabulous without it thanks to the toasted ground spices.

You might have noticed a few pink/red specks on my salad, that’s because I recently received a huge batch of Sumac from Shannon which she bought from Suria Jalan TAR. Sumac is an essential Middle Eastern spice which has a fruity-tart flavour, suitable for wide range of dishes. It’s also a great source of antioxidants, Vitamin C and Omega 3 too.

Pretty, right?
Pretty, right?

Naturally, I used some for this salad along with lemon juice, which works fabulously.

Another view of the salad
Another view of the salad

Spiced cauliflower salad (Serves 4-6) without the Goat’s Curd

1 teaspoon coriander seeds
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
8 white peppercorns
1 cauliflower
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
1 green bird’s eye chilli, sliced
Pinch of salt
¼ pomegranate
Small handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
Small handful of mint leaves
Optional if you have too much sumac like I do… add a pinch of sumac for garnish

Toast the coriander, cumin seeds, fennel seeds and peppercorns in a dry frying pan until aromatic. Remove and allow to cool, then grind to a coarse powder using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.

Cut the head of the cauliflower into 2cm wide florets. Peel the main stem of the cauliflower, cut it in half lengthwise and then into 3mm slices. Toss the cauliflower in a large bowl with the olive oil. Warm a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat, add the cauliflower and sauté for a few minutes until golden and barely cooked through. Add the ground spices to the pan and continue to cook for another minute. Transfer the spiced cauliflower to a bowl and toss with the spring onion, lemon juice, green chilli and salt to taste. Leave for at least 10 minutes before serving to allow the flavours to develop.

Meanwhile, remove the pomegranate seeds from the bitter white pith and membranes. Toss the parsley and mint though the cauliflower and place the spiced cauliflower on top of the curd. To finish, sprinkle the pomegranate seeds over the salad.

If you want to copy it 100%, whisk 70g Goat’s curd and spoon onto the plate before adding the cauliflower. I think Greek Yoghurt is a pretty good substitute if you can’t find Goat’s curd.

I had the salad with some baked chicken thigh with sumac, and my craving was satisfied. Now that this dish is no longer on their menu (though I think the Broccoli Salad with Harissa also sounds very good), I’m glad I can make this whenever I feel like it.

Yum!
Yum! It was an explosion of flavours indeed.

I am submitting this to Asian Food Fest West Asia Month, hosted by Shannon of Just as Delish

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10 thoughts on “Spiced Cauliflower Salad, Cumulus Inc

  1. I wonder what that tastes like, the Sumac. Salad looks really great.

    I guess the cauliflower over there not like the ones here, too old and everyday, the seller would cut off the dark layer…not sweet, not fragrant not like the cauliflower I had overseas. That’s why I do not bother to buy here, tasteless.

  2. quite interesting to read how this salad was being down where you hv to fry the cauliflower with the spices first. Looks pretty! Taking this opportunity to wish you merry christmas and a wonderful hear 2014! Cheers!

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