Cauliflower is one of those underrated vegetables. It gets a bad reputation for being bland and boring, and broccoli’s nasty cousin. However, if you spice it right, it can be a delicious way to get in more than your fair share of dietary fiber, folate, and vitamin C. An additional side benefit is that it is low in fat and carbs, making it a nice diet food. Wikipedia tells me that there are a whole bunch of other side benefits, including phytochemicals and reducing the risk of prostate cancer. Have I convinced you yet to eat cauliflower?
In Middle Eastern cuisine, you often find cauliflower fried and added to rice pilafs, such as maqlooba. My sister’s friend Sandra told me about a Palestinian recipe for a cauliflower pancake. She mentioned a few of the ingredients to me, and I couldn’t wait to try it. As you know, I am always looking for healthy snacks for my kids, and I am constantly putting random items in their pancakes. I eat a lot of Indian food, and it is not uncommon to get a side dish of roasted or sautéed cauliflower, spiced with curry and mustard seed. So I decided to add some Eastern flavors to the Middle Eastern dish – East meets Middle East…ha!
I tried locating the history behind mishat but I couldn’t find much. It looks like most traditional recipes use a pancake like batter in which they add a few parboiled cauliflower rosettes. I prefer to keep things as raw as possible, since cooking removes so many of the nutrients. In my recipe, I shred the cauliflower on a cheese grater which allows it to cook quickly, yet retaining a bit of a crunch when pan fried. The first time I made these, they didn’t have much texture. This time around, I added some panko crumbs which gave it the perfect amount of added crispiness.
They are best served hot. You can serve them as an appetizer, or on top of a nice salad. They are also good cold, at least my kids like them that way. I made a batch today, and although I planned on saving some for tomorrow’s lunch box, it looks like the kids already ate all of them!