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Spiced cauliflower patties

June 26, 2011

When my Ottolenghi cookbooks arrived, I was possibly more excited than a sane person should be. Thanks to a tip-off from Alli about Amazon UK’s free shipping offer, it was cheaper to get both Ottolenghi cookbooks than it was to buy one in NZ (substantially cheaper actually). I felt a bit guilt ridden about not supporting my favourite local independent bookstore Scorpio Books, but fell in love with A Year’s Worth: Recipes from the Dunsandel Store (the oatmeal patties really sealed the deal). These are cauliflower patties though, one of the first things I made due to their relative ease and the steadfast probability of having cauliflower in the fridge. They are also surprisingly delicious – I’ve gone for the simple cinnamon + cumin combo in a big way (like in the coconut pumpkin soup posted earlier).

The first time I made these I baked them instead of pan fried them (laziness is a curse). They were still delicious but a bit drier (still not “dry” though), so if you are making a large batch and don’t want to stand at the stove for long it could be a good option. Unfortunately it doesn’t save much time because pan frying shortens the cooking time per patty. I also prefer the texture of the pan fried version.

I took a risk the second time I made these and dumped in about 1/3c of white bean hummus that I’d made to the mixture. I couldn’t really taste the addition so if you want to add in some plainish beany things that have been mushed up, I say go for it. Extra healthiness, check. Wasn’t keen on the use of fennel in the patties though (it really needed using, and my garden was stripped bare of parsley…cringe I know. I have learnt my lesson). Whatever you do, make the lemony sauce to go with these…it really takes them to a whole new level. The sauce goes with heaps of other things and makes a great stand alone dip, but is particularly well married here. Weirdly fennel fronds in the lemon sauce go fine with the patties…just not in the patties. One last tip: the spices work reeeally well in this, so if your spices are a bit old, feel confident to up the amounts. The batter should exude cinnamon and cumin.

Spiced cauliflower patties

makes 8

Adapted from The Ottolenghi Cookbook

  • about 220g cauliflower*
  • 60g plain flour
  • a few Tbs chopped herbs (pref parsley)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • one large shallot or half an onion, finely chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • plenty freshly ground black pepper
  • optional: a few Tbs hummus or mashed chickpeas, beans or lentils
Lemony herbed yogurt sauce
  • about 1/2c greek or thick plain yogurt (something not too sour is good, like Clearwater’s)
  • juice & zest of half a lemon or lime
  • salt & pepper
  • a few Tbs finely chopped herbs (similar or well matched
  • optional: a few teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Chop the zest even finer. Mix sauce ingredients together.
*You can use the cauliflower stalk too, just cut off the fibre-y skin. You’d be surprised at how much you can get! Just cut the stalks 1/4 the size of the florets.
Boil or steam the cauliflower (I steam by adding a little water instead of a lot, and making sure any leftover water at the end is evaporated off) until the florets are soft enough to break with a fork. Drain and set aside.
Preheat your oven to 100C (210F), with a tray in the centre. While the cauliflower is cooking, mix together the rest of the ingredients minus the flour, then add the flour, to form a batter. Add the cauliflower, mashing it with a fork as you mix it in. It doesn’t need to be totally mashed.
Two cooking methods:
Coat the bottom of a large frypan with oil, and heat on medium high heat. Once the oil starts shimmering and giving off a little smoke, reduce the heat to low and plonk in 3-4 Tbs batter, pressing down the patties to a 1.5cm thickness. Do this quickly. Repeat until the pan is full but not crowded. The edges will turn brown fairly quickly (as brown as in the photo), once that happens, flip the patties and let cook until the undersides are also golden brown. Place cooked patties on the oven tray to keep warm, and continue cooking until you’re out of batter.
When preheating the oven, preheat to 200C (400F) with a rack on the bottom of your oven. Oil the largest metal roasting tray you’ve got, generously, and place in your preheated oven for five minutes. Remove the tray and place the patties in the hot oil, return to oven and cook for about 5 minutes before checking on them. Once the bottoms are brown, flip the patties and let cook until the undersides are also golden brown. If you need to do multiple batches, you can reheat in the oven later.
Serve hot with plenty of sauce!

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. June 27, 2011 3:20 am

    Those look so good! I love all the spices and flavorings in them and the sauce. Plus I love cauliflower. And for some reason I love making anything into a patty shape, haha. I’m going to bookmark this to try, thanks for sharing :D

  2. June 27, 2011 1:21 pm

    I have a cauliflower dis-liker (hater’s too strong a word!) in the house. But I think I can get away with it if I turn them into these patties!

  3. June 27, 2011 1:22 pm

    Yes they look super good, maybe I would be too shy to add cinnamon… but that is my problem :-).

    I just saw your query about canederli, I answered in my comments, but I copy here as well FYI: I never used almond or soy milk or other non-dairy for these, but I am sure that they would work. In fact you could even soak the bread in water or stock if you didn’t have milk, I use milk simply because I learned from my mother, this is the way she makes them :-).


  4. June 27, 2011 2:45 pm

    H: Ah, the food blogosphere never makes me feel alone :) To be honest I only make patties when I have to, as I’m not a fan of waiting at the frypan and flipping. However there aren’t very many nice vege proteiny things I can fry up (except haloumi) so things like this always get made in my kitchen anyway!

    All: Ah, the ol’ “sneak it in” tactic! You could probably also sneak pureed cauliflower into soups and mash very easily, but I guess it’s a bit pointless for you if you want to taste the cauliflower heh.

    Ale: At first I was worried about the cinnamon because it really does seem anti-intuitive, but it works really well in this (or at least I think so). If you’re worried you can always halve the amount of cinnamon and it will just be a background flavour. Thanks for the tip about the canederli, I am soaking them in milk at the moment but will try a vegan version next time! Always have bread left over :)

  5. June 11, 2012 12:15 pm

    i made these last night for friends and they were a big hit- thank you!

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