Joon's Cauliflower Kuku & Scenes from Cook Club
When I conceptualized Cook Club, I wanted to find a way for my friends and I to share recipes, learn about new ingredients, and build a community of people who all care about cooking. We hosted our second Cook Club, and somehow already managed to double our turnout and cook food that was out of most of our comfort zones.
This month we chose Joon, a book celebrating Persian cooking made simple. It was incredible to learn about using new ingredients like saffron, sour cherries, sumac, and rose water, and to understand techniques like oiling cooked rice to get a crisp bottom or adding walnuts to a spread to thicken and enrich the flavor of a spread. I wanted to choose dishes that were out of my comfort zone, but also approachable enough that I’d want to recreate them in the future. So I found the Cauliflower Kuku and Butternut Squash & Kashk Spread recipes and gave em a whirl!
Kuku I learned is a type of open-faced omelet similar to a frittata, filled with veggies and herbs. A good kuku should be thick and fluffy, and you get get the top nice and browned by using two pans (one flipped upside down on top of the other), on the stovetop then finishing under the broiler (as I did), or baked in the oven.
I loved this recipe because it made me feel like a new cook again, studying the pan, checking for doneness, worriedly pouring the egg into the pan and hoping I was taking the right steps. More than ever, it was a reminder that sometimes you just need to use your senses and not rely on a recipe. Like when it said to cook cauliflower 4-5 minutes, I think I ended up cooking mine almost 10 because my cauliflower didn’t seem to be softening as much. Always trust your eye and nose!
Here’s the recipe from Joon below, adapted based on the adjustments I made in the kitchen.
3 cloves garlic
1 head cauliflower
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp corn starch
1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled
Preheat oven to 400F. Thinly slice 1 onion lengthwise, mince 3 cloves of garlic, and chop 1 head of cauliflower into tiny pieces. Don’t pulverize the florets, but go for small pieces, almost like the size of oats. Then finely chop half a bunch of parsley.
Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in an ovenproof skillet on medium-high heat and add your onions for 1 min, then garlic and cauliflower. Stir 1 min. Then add your salt, pepper, turmeric, cumin, cayenne, and parsley. Stir fry 8-9 min or until the cauliflower is soft, but still has its structure.
While the cauliflower is cooking, whisk eggs, baking powder, and corn starch in a bowl, then flake in bits of goat cheese. Turn the flame to medium-low, and pour mixture over cooked cauliflower. Quickly stir with a spatula to combine egg and cauliflower and make sure your egg isn’t getting fried. It should be sort of mushy almost like prepping a meatloaf. Pour a drizzle of olive oil around the edges of the pan and cook for 5 min. Once the egg looks like it’s starting to set more, transfer pan to the oven for 10-12 min, or until the edges and top are lightly browned.
Remove from the oven, and let cool. Then slice into wedges and enjoy with yogurt and fresh flatbread.
Nush-e joon! (This directly translates to “food of life!” but is sort of like saying “Bon appetit!"