Em Shaat is in my opinion a Middle Eastern comfort food. It’s really a cauliflower fritter made with boiled cauliflower that’s been battered and fried.
One of my Palestinian friends taught me how to make this yummy cauliflower fritter years ago. She used all purpose flour to make her batter, it was good, but a bit heavy and not very crisp. I suppose fritters weren’t meant to be crispy.
But I like things crispy so I added my own twist to this traditional Middle Eastern recipe. The secret is Mochiko (sweet rice flour). Mochiko batter is lighter and when fried turns into a crispy delight.
The recipe calls for cumin and turmeric. Both spices are used in many Middle Eastern dishes. They compliment the cauliflower nicely giving it a mild exotic flavor.
I suppose you could say that I’ve created a Fusion dish; Med meets Asia! But really, my Middle Eastern husband loves my version!
I usually serve cauliflower dish as a main course, it’s a nice (not so healthy) alternative to a meat course. But it can be served as an appetizer, snack, or side dish as well. It’s usually served warm, but it’s pretty darn good cold too!
1 Medium Cauliflower – remove the leaves but keep whole
2 Cloves Garlic – finely minced
2 Large Eggs
1/2 Cup Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour
1/2 Cup Water
1/2 Tsp. Cumin
1/2 Tsp. Turmeric
1 Tsp. Salt
1 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper
1/4 Cup Parsley – finely chopped
Oil for frying
Boil Cauliflower until tender – about 20 minutes
Whisk all ingredients except cauliflower and oil together in a large mixing bowl – batter will be thin
Drain and Break up the cauliflower and stir into batter
Heat about 1 1/2″ of oil in a pan
Drop cauliflower mixture into oil and fry each side until golden brown
Whenever we are in LA there’s this place we frequent, Zankou Chicken; although their specialty is the delicious rotisserie chicken they also serve beef and chicken kebobs and shawarma wraps. We love the beef shawarma so much that we buy a dozen or so to take home with us.
Since there are no trips planned to LA anytime soon I decided to try my hand at making my own.
Shawarma is usually cooked on a spit and slow roasted as it turn, I don’t have one of those machines so I found a way to make it using just my oven and stove top.
To make the meat extra tender I used thinly sliced boneless beef short ribs with all the fat trimmed off. I adapted a chinese restaurant method used to tenderize their stir fry meat and it made my ribs very tender.
The secret to great shawarma is the spices used to marinate the meat. So get out your spice rack to make this tasty recipe. We make it into wraps using either pita bread or nan. Served with crunchy dill pickles and my sun dried tomato/roasted red pepper hummus and you’ve got a filling meal.
My family thinks my version is just as good as the shawarma we buy at Zankou!