Our new BABA glossary series will take you through some of our cooking methods and ingredients, with recipes that you can try at home.

First in our series is the North African spice blend, ras-el-hanout. Largely used in Morocco, it translates as ‘top of the shop’, implying that only the finest spices are used in producing it. Ras-el-hanout is different to many spice blends as it can be used as a cooking spice and a finishing spice – both of which we do in our cauliflower shawarma.

The recipe for ras-el-hanout very much depends on the creator. Turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, ginger and cloves feature in most blends, which makes for a warm spice with very little heat. In BABA, we use a blend that also features rose petals, giving the spice an added floral note.

Ras-el-hanout is widely available in supermarkets, so pick up some next time you’re out shopping and try our cauliflower shawarma recipe below.

Cauliflower shawarma, ras-el-hanout, pomegranate and mint

Cauliflower shawarma

Serves four


2 medium cauliflowers
2 tbsp ras-el-hanout, plus enough to garnish
160g tahini
8g garlic, grated
60ml lemon juice
130ml cold water
1 pomegranate, seeds only
2 mint springs, leaves torn


1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

2. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and salt well. Trim the cauliflower leaves away and mark the core with an ‘X’ using a sharp knife.

3. Once the water has boiled, add 2 tbsp of ras-el-hanout and boil the cauliflowers for 7 minutes each. Once both cauliflowers are cooked, place on a baking tray and bake for 7 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, add the garlic and lemon juice to a food processor and blend until smooth.

5. Remove from the food processor and mix with the tahini in a small bowl. The mixture will split initially, so don’t worry! Now mix in 130ml cold water and salt to taste.

6. Once the cauliflowers are roasted, they can be either barbecued to give the cauliflower a smokey flavour, or garnish straight away with the tahini dressing, pomegranate seeds and mint. Serve with grilled pitta.