Selin Kiazim’s recipe for Chilli-Roast Cauliflower

Prep Time: 30 minutes     Cooking Time: 10 minutes               Total Time: 40 minutes

Vegetables are a big part of Turkish cuisine and cauliflower is a long-standing favourite. For this issue’s recipe we turn to top London chef Selin Kiazim, who created this dish after her first visit to Istanbul.

After eating and shopping in the city’s incredible markets, she returned to London armed with a variety of Turkish kitchen essentials, including hot sun-dried pepper paste and pistachios.

At home one evening, Selin got to work: she had a cauliflower, some parsley and the pepper paste in her fridge, and from here the ‘Chilli-Roast Cauliflower’ was born. She cooked it at her very first pop-up, where it became an instant hit, and it is now a top seller at her popular Shoreditch restaurant Oklava. Naciye nene would definitely approve.

Ingredients – serves 4:

1 cauliflower (keep the green leaves on if they are nice)

2 heaped tablespoons Turkish hot pepper paste (açi biber salçası)

4 heaped tablespoons Turkish sweet pepper paste (tatli biber salçası)

50ml (2 oz) extra-virgin olive oil

1 large handful of flat leaf parsley leaves

1/2 red onion

5 tablespoons pistachio nuts, toasted and roughly chopped

Sumac dressing (sumac, lemon juice, olive oil)

1 teaspoon sumac flaky sea salt


  1. Slice your red onion as thinly as possible and soak in ice water.
  2. Preheat the oven to 210°C (400°F), Gas Mark 6 and line a baking tray with baking parchment.
  3. Cut the cauliflower into
4–6 even wedges depending on its size, keeping a little of the stalk on to hold the wedges. Rinse under cold water and pat dry with kitchen paper.
  4. Mix the two pepper pastes with the olive oil and a little salt. Rub the mixture all over the cauliflower wedges (you might want to wear gloves to do this) and put them on the prepared baking tray. Bake for 10–13 minutes, or until just tender. Set aside.
  5. Drain the red onions, pat dry with kitchen paper and set aside.
  6. Heat a dry non-stick frying pan on
the hob. Once hot, add the cauliflower wedges and cook for a minute or so on each side, or until slightly charred.
  7. To serve, put the wedges on a large plate and top with the parsley, red onion and pistachios. Drizzle with plenty of the sumac dressing and an extra sprinkling of sumac before serving.

Recipe and photo © Oklava: Recipes from a Turkish-Cypriot Kitchen by Selin Kiazim. The cookbook is available from all good book stores priced £24.