It’s nice to have a vegee night. This dish hints of meat but there is none. Lots of veg, spices, cooked down slowly. Some are roasted. Za’atar is merely a mixture of spices, primarily sumac and thyme, sometimes the addition of sesame seeds and other things, but I find sumac also goes well with cumin and coriander and cinnamon. The recipe is in order of what you do…
1 whole cauliflower, chopped into medium to small pieces
2 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper
Toss the cauliflower in about 1/4 cup olive oil with ground cumin and salt and pepper. Spread out on a baking dish and roast at 180 C (350 F) for about 40 min, or until browned and tender. Set aside.
1 red onion, finely minced
2 cups celery, finely minced
1 red capsicum (bell pepper), finely minced
2 cups Italian flat beans (or green beans), roughly chopped
2 small carrots, roughly chopped
1 ear of corn, cut off the cob
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 bottle of dry red wine
2 cans of diced tomatoes
2 Tb whole yellow mustard seeds
1 Tb ground sumac
1 Tb ground coriander
2 tsp dry thyme
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup each of fresh basil and coriander leaf (cilantro), minced
Saute the onions in olive oil, then add the rest of the vegees, chickpeas and garlic. Saute about 10 minutes, then add the red wine and reduce by half. Add the cooked cauliflower, tomatoes and spices. Bring to a simmer and let cook for at least an hour.
I always cook my brown rice this way now and it works great every time. I bring 2 cups of brown rice to a boil in a large pot with lots of salted water. Once boiling, boil for 30 minutes. Strain the water off in a fine sieve, then return the rice to the pot with a couple tablespoons of butter and cover for 10 minutes before serving.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream and fresh basil and coriander leaf (cilantro). A sprinkling of dried chilli flakes is also good.