“Roasted together, cumin and cauliflower take on a nutty sweetness without losing their essential characters….I first came upon this combination rolled into a falafel in Amsterdam, which was so intriguing I had to unravel it to investigate the identity of the mystery ingredient.”

Niki Segnit, The Flavour Thesaurus


I am not quite sure what it is about cauliflower which makes it go so well with cumin, but there is no doubt that it does. But as Niki Segnit noticed, the two together acquire a nutty flavour resulting in its making a good triumvirate with nuts, especially pecans and walnuts.


Recipe for cauliflower with cumin and coriander

For two


  • About 12 pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 x small cauliflower cut into mini-brains
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil (rape comes from the same brassica family as cauliflower, but it also has other cooking benefits)
  • 1 banana shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • About half a small bunch of fresh coriander – chopped
  • 1 tbsp panko breadcrumbs (optional, but if you aren’t serving additional rice or potatoes it adds a bit of texture and ‘padding’)
  • 1 tsp smoked salt
  • Indonesian black pepper


  1. Boil a full kettle, put the cauliflower into a saucepan, pour over the boiling water, and continue to boil for less than a minute. Drain.
  2. In a wok, dry fry the two seeds and then put into a pestle and mortar.
  3. Fry the banana shallot in the rapeseed oil until golden.
  4. Pound the seeds in the mortar (they should smell heavenly).
  5. Add everything except the bread crumbs and fresh coriander to the wok and stir fry for about five minutes – after about three minutes add the breadcrumbs, keep stirring.
  6. Serve with the fresh coriander sprinkled over the top.