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Persian-Style Saffron, Cauliflower & Broccoli Frittata (kookoo)

Persian-Style Saffron, Cauliflower & Broccoli Frittata (kookoo)

Saffron is what makes the flavour of this cauliflower and broccoli frittata very unique. I call it a frittata just for the sake of convenience. To anyone who’s Persian it’s a kookoo (or kūkū). I find it a wonderful dish to serve for brunch but I’ll happily have it for lunch or even dinner any day. With a nice crispy lettuce salad of course.

Kookoo is any dish of vegetables, herbs, meat (or a mixture of these) or even nuts mixed with eggs and cooked to a golden perfection in the shape of a thin, round cake. There are numerous types of kookoo but the most popular one has to be kookoo sabzi, a very green frittata full of herbs.  Kookoo sabzi was the dish that inspired me to make my Kale and Potato Egg Muffins (see the recipe here).

Kookoo sabzi (herb kookoo) is one of the most popular types of kookoo. It’s usually made with parsley, dill, Persian chives and coriander.
Another kookoo with broad beans and dill.
Another kookoo with broad beans and dill.

Broccoli became widely available in Iran only over a decade ago but its cousin, cauliflower, has been around for decades and is often used to make kookoo. My recipe combines the two vegetables but you can use either one on its own. Making this kookoo is an excellent way to use leftover steamed or roasted cauliflower and/or broccoli, too.

Kookoo is traditionally made in a round frying pan. This requires cooking it on gentle heat on one side and flipping it to cook the other side too. Many cooks now prefer to bake their frittata in the oven and use different shapes of tins. I like to bake kookoo in muffin tins (like the kookoo sabzi pictured above) to make serving easy. Sometimes I bake it in a square or rectangular cake tin so I can cut it into neat squares like this broccoli and cauliflower kookoo. Just make sure your tin is really non-stick.

kookoo cut into small cubes makes nice finger-food for parties.
kookoo cut into small cubes makes nice finger-food for parties.



  • 500g cauliflower
  • 250g broccoli florets
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp flour (omit for gluten-free or use gluten-free cake flour)
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp ground saffron (optional)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin rapeseed oil


  1. Steam or briefly boil the cauliflower and broccoli florets until they are tender. Drain well. Mash most of the cauliflower with a potato masher and and chop the broccoli and the rest of the cauliflower roughly.
  2. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F.
  3. Prepare the saffron according to the instructions in my post on How to Use Saffron, the King of Spices with 1/2 tablespoon water.
  4. Add the eggs, flour, salt, turmeric and baking powder to the saffron and beat with a whisk to incorporate the flour. Fold the chopped vegetables in the egg mixture.
  5. Drizzle the oil in a non-stick coated square cake tin (25cm X 25cm) or a similar sized non-stick ovenproof frying pan. Put the tin in the oven for four minutes or until a little of the mixture dropped in the oil starts bubbling around the edges. Pour the mixture into the hot tin carefully and immediately shake the pan to distribute the mixture. Level the top with the back of a spoon or a spatula. Bake for 20 minutes.
  6. Brush some more oil on the top of the kookoo. Reduce the oven to 170C/325F. Bake for 10 minutes longer or until the top is golden. Let the kookoo cool a little in the tin.
  7. Put a slightly larger chopping board or platter on the tin or frying pan. Holding the tin or pan and the chopping board carefully with both hands invert it like a cake. Cut the kookoo in wedges or squares with a bread knife. Serve warm or cold. Enjoy!

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