Tandoori cauliflower is an Indian grilled appetizer made with cauliflower, spices, yogurt & herbs. It is a well known dish served in Indian restaurants & goes by the name tandoori gobi. We Indians love tandoori foods a lot for their unique grilled flavor & taste. Tandoori chicken, tandoori naan, tandoori roti & paneer tikka are some of the most popular dishes made in a tandoor (clay oven).
This recipe can be made either with whole cauliflower or just with the florets. It can be served as an appetizer as is without any condiment or with green chutney. It also goes well as a side in an Indian meal. We usually serve this with rice pulao. Sometimes I also make wraps with tandoori gobi, smeared with some yogurt mint chutney & topped with salad veggies.
This tandoori cauliflower has been a family favorite for a long time. I have lost count of the number of times I have made it. This is a very old recipe which I shared on the blog back in 2012.
I have adapted the recipe from a Bollywood cookbook which had a lot of recipes shared by several Bollywood personalities. This recipe comes from Deepti Naval & is one of her favorites made by her mom. It was named as sabut gobi masala in the book.
I instantly got hooked to the idea & tried making the whole tandoori cauliflower. My entire family loved it especially my kids. The recipe has gone through some basic changes to suit our taste buds.
Sometimes I also make this using the florets with some besan added to the marinade. I have included the instructions for the florets as well.
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
- 500 grams cauliflower without leaves (gobi)
- 1½ tablespoons oil
- 2 tablespoons yogurt or curd (2 tbsps more if needed)
- 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
- ¾ tablespoon red chili powder (reduce for kids)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 tablespoon kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice or amchur (dry mango powder)
- 2 tablespoon coriander leaves chopped
- ¾ teaspoon Salt (adjust to taste)
- 1 onion diced (optional)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons roasted gram flour or besan (optional) (refer notes)
How to make the recipe
- Cut off the stem of the cauliflower leaving 1 to 2 cms to keep the florets intact.
- Slightly loosen the florets on top with your fingers. This helps to inspect the cauliflower for bugs or worms.
- Heat 4 cups of water in a large pot. The pot must be large enough to fit the gobi.
- When the water turns hot. Add 1 tsp salt and Turn off the stove.
- Immerse the gobi in the hot water just for 2 to 3 mins. Remove it and rinse under running water immediately.
- Set aside until the excess moisture drains completely. You can also separate the florets if you prefer to grill the florets and not the whole cauliflower.
- Loosen the florets slightly so ensure it cooks through well. If you do not do this your cauliflower may remain uncooked inside.
How make tandoori cauliflower
- Mix all the ingredients mentioned above for the marinade (except the onions). Taste it. If needed add more spice and salt.
- The marinade must be thick yet spreadable. If it is too thick then add the rest of the 2 tbsps of yogurt.
- Marinate the cauliflower well, Make sure the marinade goes in between the groves. Set aside for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 190 C or 375 F for at least 15 minutes. Transfer the cauliflower to a baking tray. Tuck the onions on top of the cauliflower.
- Grill the whole tandoori cauliflower for 50 mins depending on the size. If using florets then grill for 25 to 30 mins.
- Test by inserting a knife or fork in the stem. When done it goes in easily.
- If the cauliflower browns on top & remains undone inside, then you can baste some marinade on top. Continue to grill for a little longer until done.
- Serve tandoori cauliflower as a starter or as a side.
NUTRITION (estimation only)
- This recipe does not give you a crisp cauliflower. It turns out soft but with bursting tandoori flavors. To make it crisp skip yogurt and use water along with 4 tbsps of roasted gram flour or besan.
- You may skip the onions. They are used here for flavor. Grilled onions impart a lot of flavor.
- I usually dry roast 2 tbsps of besan or gram flour until aromatic in a pan. Cool this and add to the marinade. I also add more yogurt to bring the marinade to consistency.
- If using florets, prepare a baking tray with parchment paper. I grease it too for extra safety. Then place the florets. You can also grill them in 2 racks in separate trays. After 15 mins, just swap the trays for even grilling.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
If you are new to cooking, follow my detailed step by step photo instructions for best results.
- Clean and prepare the gobi following the instructions in the recipe card. Then add all ingredients for marinade to a large bowl or plate.
2.Mix all of them. The marinade must be thick yet of spreadable consistency. Otherwise add more yogurt.
How to make tandoori cauliflower
3. Loosen the cauliflower florets slightly and marinate the cauliflower. You can set aside for an hour. If using onions, just tuck them here.
4.Place it on a baking tray. I use a ceramic pan for this.
5.I grilled it for 40 mins. Then with the help of a chop stick separated the florets a bit more for even grilling. Then grilled it again for 10 mins. The timing may vary depending on the size of your gobi. But grill it until the stems turn slightly tender yet remain crunchy.
To test, poke a fork or a knife in the stem. It should go in easily. If you want the charred effect, broil the tandoori cauliflower for another 2 to 3 mins.