Cauliflower and date tagine with Tunisian pilaff


Preparation info

  • Serve


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Pure Vegetarian

By Paul Gayler

Published 2006

  • About

For many people dates are too sweet and should only be confined to sticky-based Middle Eastern-style pastries - not so! Within this north African cauliflower tagine they are wonderful, working in harmony with the delicate spices. Dates have been a staple food in desert lands for thousands of years.


  • 1 large cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • Β½ teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • good pinch of ground turmeric
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 400 g tin peeled tomatoes, chopped
  • 100 g stoned dates
  • 750 ml good vegetable stock
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


    Blanch the cauliflower florets in boiling water for 1 minute, drain, refresh under cold running water and dry in a cloth. Place in a bowl with the flour and spices and leave for 2 hours to allow the flavours to infuse.

    Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan, add the cauliflower and spices and fry lightly together over a low heat for 5 minutes until golden on all sides. Add the onion and garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, dates and vegetable stock and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Finally stir in the herbs and season to taste.

    Meanwhile, for the pilaff, heat the oil in a pan, add the almonds and cook for 5-6 minutes until golden. Remove them, add the onion and currants to the oil and cook for 2 minutes. Add the cinnamon and cook for a further 30 seconds. Add the rice and coat with the onions and cinnamon. Pour over the hot stock, cover and cook over a low heat for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave, covered, for a further 5 minutes. Stir in the orange zest and almonds, adjust the seasoning and serve alongside the tagine.