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Rice with Yoghurt, Roasted Cauliflower and Fried Garlic (Labaniet Alzahar)

Sami Tamimi

by Sami Tamimi, Tara Wigley from Falastin: A Cookbook

This deliciously creamy, risotto-like rice is delicious eaten as a main or as a side dish. You can play around with the toppings too, substituting the cauliflower for roast squash, charred cherry tomatoes or pan-fried minced lamb.

From the book

Sami Tamimi, Tara Wigley


This feels like a rich risotto or even, if you play around with the toppings as suggested below, a thick congee. Either way, it’s the most comforting of dishes, to be eaten either as a main, as Sami used to with his family, from a bowl with a spoon, or as a side to slow-cooked lamb, beef or some roasted root veg.

Getting ahead: Ideally you want to cook the cauliflower, rice and adha all at the same time (rather than waiting for one element to be finished before going on to the next), so that everything is warm and ready at once.

Playing around: Instead of (or in addition to) the cauliflower, try roasting some little turnips or wedges of squash. In addition, for the congee theme, put all sorts of toppings into lots of different bowls: some thinly sliced spring onions, for example, a drizzle of shatta, a spoonful of pan-fried minced lamb, charred cherry tomatoes, thin slivers of garlic fried until golden in oil. People can then make up their own bowl as they like.

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1 large cauliflower, cut into roughly 6cm florets (650g)
2 tbsp olive oil
400g Greek-style yoghurt
1 egg yolk
1½ tsp cornflour
700ml whole milk
200g pudding (or risotto) rice, washed and drained
About 5g picked parsley leaves, to garnish (optional)
salt and white pepper
For the adha:
5 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
60ml olive oil
2 tsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed in a pestle and mortar


Preheat the oven to 200°C fan.

Put the cauliflower into a large bowl with the oil and . teaspoon of salt. Mix well to combine, then spread out on a large parchment-lined baking tray. Roast for 25–27 minutes, until golden brown and tender.

While the cauliflower is cooking, place the yoghurt, egg yolk and cornflour in a free-standing blender and work on a medium speed for a minute, until the mixture is smooth and runny. You can also do this by hand but, if you do, mix it really well to prevent the sauce splitting when cooked. Set aside.

Put the milk and rice into a large saucepan, for which you have a lid, along with 1 teaspoon of salt and a pinch of white pepper. Bring to the boil on a high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 20 minutes, covered, stirring from time to time, until the rice is almost cooked. Add the yoghurt mixture and cook for another 7 minutes, until the rice is tender.

Put all the ingredients for the adha into a small saucepan and place on a medium-low heat. Cook for 2 minutes, until the garlic is golden, then remove from the heat and set aside.

When ready to serve, spoon the rice into a shallow serving dish or individual bowls. Arrange the cauliflower pieces randomly on top and spoon over the adha. Garnish with the parsley, if using, and serve at once.

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From the book: Falastin: A Cookbook

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