We wanted to create a vegetarian kabab that would extrapolate from the tandoori aloo and gobi available everywhere. We started with charred broccoli as the foundation, and used chermoula paste to bring in a Middle Eastern flavour profile. For the sweet-sour, or ambat-goad, flavours that are so central to Qualia, we turned to grapes. And to give the creation one more layer, we added lemon juice.

  • Serves


  • Cook Time


    Plus 4 hours for marinating broccoli


For Broccoli

  • 2 heads broccoli, 200 gm each
  • 150 gm red chermoula paste
  • 25 gm feta, crumbled
  • 20 gm parsley, chopped
  • 20 gm thyme, chopped
  • 20 ml lemon juice
  • 10 ml honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For Red Chermoula Paste

  • 3 large red bell peppers
  • 5 gm red chilli paste
  • 5 gm garlic, chopped
  • 5 gm cumin powder
  • ½ gm saffron
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 10 ml lemon juice
  • 5 ml honey
  • Salt and pepper

For Pumpkin Hummus

  • 250 gm ripe pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut in pieces
  • 50 gm tahini
  • 15 gm honey
  • 10 gm roasted garlic purée
  • 10 gm sage, fried crisp
  • 5 gm rosemary, chopped
  • 5 gm thyme, chopped
  • 5 gm cumin, roasted and coarsely ground
  • 20 ml lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper

For Peppered Cashew Nuts

  • 100 gm cashew nuts
  • 10 gm caster sugar
  • 10 gm black pepper, ground
  • Salt to taste

For Roast Grapes

  • 50 gm seedless grapes
  • 5 gm thyme
  • 10 ml olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


For Red Chermoula Paste

  1. Roast the bell peppers over an open flame till they char and blister. Peel off the skin and remove the seeds.
  2. Soak saffron in about a teaspoon of warm water till it bleeds out orange.
  3. Blend all the other ingredients – except the oil – in a blender, and adjust for salt.
  4. Heat oil in a pan, toss in the bell peppers, and cook on low flame for a few minutes.
  5. Add the peppers and pan juices to the blender which has the spices and purée to a smooth paste.

For Broccoli

  1. Cut each broccoli head in two, lengthwise. Soak the heads in a bowl of salted water for 15-20 minutes to remove any dirt or insects.
  2. In a stainless steel bowl, combine the red chermoula paste and other broccoli ingredients (except the feta). Mix well to form a marinade or dressing.
  3. Remove the broccoli from the water and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the marinade over and into the broccoli, making sure to get it into all the nooks and crannies. Let it marinate for about four hours in the refrigerator before cooking.
  4. To cook the broccoli, either grill it over charcoal or roast it in the oven at 180°C/350°F till tender and charred.

For Pumpkin Hummus

  1. Roast the pumpkin in an oven at 180°C/350°F till tender and slightly charred. 
  2. Let it cool and then blend the pumpkin along with other ingredients (except for the fried sage) into a smooth purée in a blender-mixer.
  3. Remove into a bowl and fold in the fried sage. Set aside.

For Pepper Cashew Nuts

  1. In a nonstick pan, cook the cashew nuts and sugar on low heat, mixing continuously till the sugar caramelises and coats the cashews.
  2. Sprinkle in the salt and ground black pepper, give the pan a quick mix to coat the cashews, and remove onto a plate to let cool.

For Roast Grapes

  1. Cut the grapes in half, sprinkle with olive oil, thyme, salt and black pepper.
  2. Roast in the oven at 180°C/350°F till slightly shrivelled and charred.

To Serve

  1. In the centre of a plate, spread out a tablespoon of the warm pumpkin hummus.
  2. Top it up with charred broccoli, and garnish with pepper cashew nuts, pickled apricot and crumbled feta. Serve hot.
Rahul Akerkar

Rahul Akerkar

Rahul Akerkar, the chef-founder of Qualia in Mumbai, was Scroll Food’s Chef of the Month for June. He started his culinary journey 35 years ago in the US, returning to India in 1989. Since then, he has been busy changing the way we eat. Known for setting industry trends with his creative, ingredient-driven cuisine, and warm attentive hospitality, Rahul’s award-winning restaurants secured his position as one of India’s first successful, chef-restaurateurs. In his career, he has won many accolades – he was featured in Asiaweek’s Survey of “Kitchen Gods” in 2001 and was 28 on San Pellegrino’s List of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2013. More recently, he won Chef of The Year at the Times Food Awards 2016, Mumbai. He has been guest chef in several kitchens around the world, authored numerous articles, and frequently consults to the food and hospitality industry.

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