Monica Kisic shares zero-waste cauliflower satay dish - Friends of Friends / Freunde von Freunden (FvF)

Monica Kisic shares zero-waste cauliflower satay dish


The thing with starting off on a zero-waste journey is that it can be difficult to know how exactly to take those first steps. With sustainable cooking, most of us would like to throw ourselves into it with abandon, but it can seem somewhat daunting for a beginner. When you’re a novice at these things, the result can seem so lofty that it may be tempting to give up at the first hurdle.

Enter Monica Kisic, scientist, chef, creative, and zero-waste guru. Monica has had an illustrious career and path in education, and in 2018 she founded Roots Radical, a Berlin-based, zero-waste kitchen and community hub that facilitates educational workshops, events, and gatherings. Through Roots Radical—alongside her other initiatives and collaborations—Monica seeks to make connections, fight food waste, and connect gastronomy with creativity.

We reached out to Monica for a zero-waste recipe and she kindly gave us the inside scoop on how to create a sustainable and delicious Cauliflower Satay. This recipe can be daintily plated and arranged for an intimate dinner party, or doled out buffet-style for a more casual, festive atmosphere. The entirety of the cauliflower is used—no throwing out the leaves!—and Monica advises on how to whip up the tastiest satay sauce and kimchi paste.


Cauliflower Satay


  • 16g fermented lemons
  • 60g cauliflower leaf kimchi
  • 400g fried or roasted cauliflower steak
  • Satay Sauce
    • 15g shallots
    • 15g garlic
    • 10g candlenuts
    • 40g Thai chilli
    • 1 lemongrass stalk
    • 5g ginger
    • 100g roasted peanuts
    • 20g Kecap Manis (sweet soy sauce)
    • 5g galangal
    • salt and sugar
  • Kimchi Paste
    • 200g garlic
    • 60g ginger
    • 70g onion
    • 90g red pepper
    • 30g fresh chilli
    • 15g chilli flakes
    • 60g sugar, or slices of apple and pear
    • 15g salt
Monica illustrates how you can make a buffet or a dipping-plate with this recipe.


  1. Satay Sauce: Chop shallots, garlic, candlenuts, Thai chili, galangal, ginger, and wok on a low heat with cooking oil until well caramelized. Then blend, adding water and stock if necessary. Afterwards, add the peanuts, sweet soy sauce, lemongrass, and blend thoroughly. Add salt and sugar to taste and balance flavor. To achieve the desired consistency, blend further with more liquid or cook further in a pot. The satay sauce for this recipe works best if thick
  2. Fermented Lemons: These can be purchased at zero-waste shops and stalls, or can be made yourself by cutting through the lemon without separating it, adding salt, and leaving in a jar for one month. Ensure the lemons are covered in liquid.
  3. Kimchi Paste: Take all of the ingredients for the paste, chop, and then blend well.
  4. Remove cauliflower leaves and mix with 6% salt-brine (this is 6g of salt for every 100ml of water). Leave to steep for 12-24 hours
  5. After this time period, strain the leaves, then add the paste and massage well. Leave to ferment for one week, making sure everything is well submerged
  6. Cut cauliflower steaks with their trunks. Fry at 200 degrees until it caramelizes and changes color, or bake at 160 degrees
  7. Serve all together on a plate or buffet-style—as shown in Monica’s diagrams!
Plated and served for a Roots Radical dinner. Image taken by Ana Torres

Thank you to Monica Kisic for her Cauliflower Satay recipe.

Monica is a scientist, chef, and artist, based in Berlin and originally from Peru. Monica has a zest for connecting the process of making and consuming food with anthropology, music, culture, sounds, visual arts, and space. Monica has studied extensively in the areas of gastronomy and science, including raw cuisine at Matthew Kenney’s Culinary school and a PhD in Molecular Biology at Universidad Autonama de Madrid.

Monica works collaboratively with a variety of creatives and disciplines in her various projects. In 2018, she founded Roots Radical, a Berlin-based community fighting food waste who operate in the canteen at the Atelier Gardens Campus in Alt Tempelhof. They host and facilitate zero-waste workshops, with the goal to educate, empower, and contact. They have also created a new branch of Roots Radical called “Good Food”, a zero-waste catering projects that caters for all of the events taking place at the Atelier Gardens Campus. Their products are available at their headquarters there and also via their online shop, including hot sauce, kimchi, and garlic paste!

Monica is also the founder of Eiseis Berlin (a zero-waste ice-cream brand, which facilitates events and parties and does pop-ups) and No-Waste Catering Berlin.

Text: Ellen McBride
Images by Monica Kisic, Ana Torres