2018 Plant Based Challenge Closed 4th November

Al Brown takes the Plant Based Challenge

Taste Al's dish at the Little Bird Unbakery (ponsonby) or create it at home.

We challenged chef and restaurateur Al Brown to create a plant based dish for the Little Bird Organics Plant Based Challenge. The result? This incredibly delicious dish that will have you salivating at the sight of broccoli. Make his dish at home or taste it at the Little Bird Unbakery Café from the 8th to the 14th October, with $1 from each sale going to Garden to Table.

Want to get involved in the Little Bird Organics Plant Based Challenge yourself? Post your own creation to Facebook or Instagram with #PlantBasedChallengeNZ anytime from now until 4th November for the chance to win over $5,000 in prizes; including flights to Auckland for two, an all-new Hyundai Kona Electric for 3 days on Waiheke Island, and two nights luxury accommodation with breakfast and dinner at The Boat Shed. Find out more.

Al Brown’s Cumin Seed Tempura Broccoli w/ Tomato Kasundi and Almond Cashew Cream


Tomato Kasundi

1 cup sunflower oil

½ cup curry leaves

3 tbsp mustard seeds

2 tsp fenugreek seeds, toasted and ground

2 cups onion, finely diced

1/3 cup garlic, finely diced

½ cup ginger, finely diced

1 red chilli, minced

10 cardamom pods, toasted

2 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground

2 tsp ground turmeric

1 ½ cups malt vinegar

1 ½ cups sugar

4 x 400g cans whole peeled crushed tomatoes

Flaky sea salt and fresh black pepper, to taste


Almond Cream

1 cup blanched almond, soaked overnight, then drained

1 cup cashew nuts, soaked overnight, then drained

3 small garlic cloves

½ cup olive oil

½ cup walnut oil

2 tbsp sherry vinegar

¾ cup water

Flaky sea salt and fresh black pepper, to taste


Tempura Broccoli

 2 medium sized broccoli, cut into florets (the size of a chestnut)

½ cup tempura flour

Sparkling water

2 tsp toasted cumin seeds

1L sunflower oil, for deep-frying

¼ cup toasted almond flakes, to serve



To make the Kasundi, place a medium size heavy base saucepan on medium heat. Add the oil, and fry curry leaves, mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. Stir with a wooden spoon, and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant.

Add the onion, garlic, ginger, chili, cardamom, cumin and turmeric. Turn the heat down, and sweat for 10 minutes, before adding the vinegar, sugar, crushed whole peeled tomatoes.

Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Once it becomes a little ‘jammy’ in consistency, turn off the heat and season to taste with sea salt and fresh black pepper. Refrigerate or pour into preserving jars.

To make the Almond Cream, place the soaked and drained nuts into a blender with garlic, olive oil and walnut oil. Blitz to a smooth paste. Slowly pour the vinegar and water into the blender with the motor running, until fully incorporated. Season to taste with sea salt and fresh black pepper, then refrigerate until required.

To make the Tempura Broccoli, place the tempura flour into a large bowl, and whisk in enough sparking water to create a thin and runny batter. Stir through cumin seeds. Place the broccoli into a separate bowl and pour over just enough of the batter to lightly coat. Keep the remaining batter in the fridge, or discard.

Either in a deep fryer or suitable sized saucepan, heat the frying oil to 180 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can gauge this by adding a piece of bread to the oil. When the oil is ready, it will take about a minute for the bread to turn golden and crisp.

Deep fry the broccoli in batches for approximately two to three minutes at a time. Turn out onto absorbent paper as you continue to cook the remaining Broccoli. Season with flaky sea salt.

To serve, spoon the almond and cashew cream onto plates, and fill the centre with tomato kasundi. Top with hot tempura broccoli and a few toasted almond flakes. Finish with a drizzle of walnut oil.

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