Saturday, 4 April 2015

Moroccan salad of cauliflower "Mderbel" or zaalouk

I've been giving this recipe to many people around me and I always referred them to a similar recipe of cabbage zaalook, posted a while ago. I decided to post it separately so it gets the attention it deserves.

Cauliflower zaalouk or "caviar" of cauliflower can also be served as a dip if you mash it further. We also call it "Mderbel" because of the method used in the second part of the cooking which consist on stiring, folding and turning around the mix to infuse with chermoula mix.

Make this salad ahead and allow it to cool before adding lemon and extra olive oil.

Serve it cold or at room temperature.

Serves 6 persons
Prep: 10 min - cooking: 20-25 min
  • A large cabbage, cut into big floret
  • 1/2 cup of spicy red chermoula paste
  • 2 tbps of olive oil + 2 tbps to drizzle at the end
  • 3 tbsps of fresh lemon juice
  • Harissa to taste (unless you have used a hot chermoula)
For chermoula (use a blender or pestle and mortar)
  • 1 cup of coriander, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of parsley, chopped
  • 1 to 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tbsp of ground sweet paprika
  • 1/4 tsp of chili powder 
  • 1/2 tsp of cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp of harissa (Optional)
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 to 3 tbsps of water
For garnishing
  • Black olives  (optional)
  • Preserved lemon


Wash the cauliflower and cut into florets.

Boil in slightly salted water or steam until about tender. Set aside to drain (if you boiled it)

Heat the oil in a pan and add about 1/2 cup of chermoula, cook for about  minute. Fold in the cauliflower. Break it into smaller pieces with a spatula and then into small bits. You could use a hand potato masher for that as well. Keep stiring, folding and returning the mix. until chermoula is fully combined and all the liquid has evaporated. It usually takes about 5 minutes.

Off the heat, drizzle with olive oil. Add the lemon juice once cooled and check the seasoning. Some like to mix in more harissa or have it seriously lemony. It's up to you.

You could serve the cauliflower zaalook or Mderbel as a mash

This salads keep will in the fridge for up to a week. It's ideally served at room temperature but can also be served even colder

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