This Cauliflower Curry is the perfect one-pot vegetarian dish when you’re after a healthy yet delicious and quick meal. It is vegan and naturally Gluten-free. Serve this Cauliflower Curry over some fluffy Basmati Rice or flavored rice like Jeera rice or Turmeric rice. It also goes well with flatbreads like Chapati, roti, Naan or Plain Paratha. This recipe takes just 30 minutes from start to finish and am sure you will love it for the great Indian flavors and ease of cooking.
Cauliflower Curry is a Indian dish where cauliflower florets are cooked with a sauce consisting of onions, tomatoes, spices and herbs. There are numerous ways a curried dish is made with varying ingredients like coconut milk, cream, yogurt etc.
Most Indian curries are made the basic way by with pantry staples and this cauliflower curry is no exception. Our everyday Indian curries are not creamy or buttery and do not have a smooth sauce like those served in the restaurants.
This cauliflower curry is made much the same way without the use of any fancy ingredients and has a chunky curry base (sauce). If you have picky eaters at home, you may puree the onion tomato masala before adding the cauliflower.
Indians living in India make use of fresh tomatoes for their cooking as they are easily available all round the year. Canned tomatoes and bottled tomato puree is not used. However if fresh tomatoes are a seasonal thing where you live, substitute with canned tomatoes.
Cauliflower and chickpeas make a fantastic combo. You can also include 1 cup of prepared chickpeas (boiled or canned) in this recipe. Check this fast Chickpea Curry for tips and ideas on how to use chickpeas in a curry.
If you love tofu, you can also use some marinated and pan-fried tofu in this recipe. You may refer this Tofu Curry post to prepare and pan fry tofu before using in this recipe.
If you are new to Indian Cuisine, you may scroll down & read the tips and variations section before you make the dish.
How To Make Cauliflower Curry (Stepwise Photos)
Prepare 250 grams of cauliflower florets.
1. This step is optional & you may simply rinse the florets under running water and drain them. This step helps to get rid of small bugs or worms hidden in the florets. Heat 3 cups of water in a pot, until slightly hot to touch (not boiling hot). Add the cauliflower florets to the hot water and set aside for 5 mins. Later drain the water and rinse them under running water. Drain completely & set them aside.
2. On a low to medium flame, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a pan. Add ½ teaspoon cumin seeds and ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds. When they pop add 1 sprig curry leaves and fry for 30 to 60 seconds.
3. Add 2 medium finely chopped onions (1¼ cups) and 1 chopped green chili. Saute until they turn golden.
4. Add 1 tablespoon ginger garlic (chopped or paste). Saute until the raw smell goes away. This takes about 30 to 60 seconds.
5. Add ¾ to 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes and ¾ teaspoon salt. Cook until they turn completely mushy.
6. Add 1 teaspoon garam masala, ¼ teaspoon turmeric, ½ teaspoon coriander powder and ½ to ¾ teaspoon red chili powder.
7. Stir and saute for a minute or 2.
8. Add cauliflower and stir fry for about 1 to 2 minutes on a medium high flame. Pour half cup water and mix well. Do not pour a lot at one time. Mix and cook covered until cauliflower is tender. If needed pour more water in batches. I used 1 & 1/4 cup water in total as the cauliflower I used was not young.
9. When done cauliflower should be tender yet remain crunchy and not mushy. If there is a lot of water left in the pot, evaporate on a high heat. Taste test and add more salt if needed. Curry is ready at this stage.
10. Optional – If using coconut milk, then pour it and mix well. Cook for 2 to 3 mins. I used half cup fresh coconut milk. Do not add a lot of coconut milk to retain the spice levels and flavors.
This is the consistency that goes good with rice or roti.
Here are some tips that may help you to make this dish delicious.
Spice powders: This recipe uses garam masala along with red chilli powder and turmeric. You may replace garam masala with any curry powder or pav bhaji masala or sambar powder. Just adjust the quantities to suit your taste.
Whole spices: We usually don’t use a lot of whole spices for our everyday curry. It is just the mustard seeds and cumin seeds that go to the initial tempering. If you do not have them just skip.
Curry leaves: You can make this curry even without curry leaves. Since I always have them I used them here. You may also add a small bay leaf for a stronger aroma.
Coconut milk: Most times I make this cauliflower curry without any coconut milk. It tastes delicious even without it. But coconut milk adds volume, flavor and thickens the curry.
I used homemade coconut milk here. I extracted by blending half cup frozen coconut with half cup water. You can also use canned coconut milk.
Cauliflower: Often cauliflower has insects inside, so to get rid of them we blanch it in slightly hot water. You can however skip this if you do not prefer.
- Veggies like green peas, potatoes or mushrooms also go well in this recipe.
- Leafy greens like spinach or methi/fenugreek leaves can be used. I add about 1.5 cups of chopped spinach or handful of methi leaves.
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 250 grams cauliflower florets (2 heaped cups)
- 2 tablespoon oil
- ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds (optional)
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 sprig curry leaves or bay leaf (optional)
- 1¼ cup onions chopped finely (2 medium)
- 1 green chili slit or chopped (optional)
- 1 tablespoon ginger garlic chopped finely or 1 tsp paste
- ¾ to 1 cup tomatoes – pureed or fine chopped (2 medium)
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric (or haldi)
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon red chilli powder (I used 1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder)
- 1 teaspoon garam masala or curry powder (I used 1½ tsp)
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder (optional)
- ¾ to 1 cup water or coconut milk (I used 1¼ cup)
- Clean cauliflower and chop the florets to desired sizes. Optional – heat 3 cups water in a large bowl, add cauliflower florets to the slightly hot water. Leave it for some time. Rinse them under running water and drain them.
How to Make Cauliflower Curry
- Heat oil in a pan, on a low to medium heat. Add mustard and cumin. When they begin to sizzle add the curry leaves and fry for 30 seconds.
- Add onions and green chilli. Saute until pink or golden.
- Stir in ginger garlic and saute till a nice aroma comes out for about 30 to 60 seconds.
- Then add tomatoes and salt. Saute until the tomatoes turn soft and mushy.
- Add turmeric, red chilli powder, garam masala and coriander powder. Saute for 30 to 60 seconds until the masala smells aromatic.
- Then add cauliflower florets and saute for 1 to 2 mins.
- Pour ½ to 1 cup water or coconut milk and give a good mix. I used 1 cup water at this step. Young cauliflower releases lots of moisture, so be careful not to add a lot of water at one time.
- Cover and cook until the cauliflower is tender but not mushy.
- If needed add more water or coconut milk to bring the curry to a desired consistency. I added half cup coconut milk at this stage.
- Taste the curry and add more salt if needed. Garnish cauliflower curry with coriander leaves.
- Coconut milk: If using homemade coconut milk, please use the thin milk to avoid curdling.
- Garam masala: If using coconut milk, add more spice powders. I used 1 tsp red chilli powder,1.5 tsps garam masala and 1/2 tsp coriander powder.
- Blanching cauliflower (optional): We usually blanch the cauliflower before cooking just to bring out any tiny worms hid inside. To do this heat 3 cups water in a large bowl, add cauliflower florets to the slightly hot water. Leave it for some time. Rinse them under running water and drain them.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
This Cauliflower Curry Recipe was first published in September 2014. Updated & Republished in April 2020.
I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me
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