This Indian cauliflower curry is easy, hearty, budget-friendly and meatless meal (vegetarian and vegan friendly) to enjoy anytime and proves that pantry cooking doesn't need to be boring or bland.
✓ Easy ✓ Budget Friendly ✓ Dairy Free Friendly ✓ Vegetarian and Vegan Friendly✓ Healthy-ish
I am definitely looking at food a little differently these days. When I look at that cauliflower in my fridge now, I'm not thinking side dish, I'm thinking main course, especially with the scarcity (or crazy high prices) of chicken right now.
At first glance, you might think this dish doesn't look like a "pantry dish", but that's only because I dressed it up (it's hard to take the food blogger out of the food :)
At its base though, this easy Indian cauliflower curry is simply roasted cauliflower, canned tomatoes, onion, garlic and a few Indian spices. And you could literally stop there and have a great meal.
If you have a few extra things to add into the mix or to top it with, you can go ahead and add them in, too. I've included all the options below for you.
Base ingredients you will need to make a basic curry...
- Head of cauliflower
- Cooking oil
- Salt and pepper
- Onion, garlic (fresh, dried or powdered) and ginger (fresh, paste or powder)
- Canned tomatoes - If you have canned crushed tomatoes, that would be the best option here. If not, take any canned tomatoes and process them down with an immersion blender/food processor. Measure out what's needed after blending.
- Spices - Cumin, coriander, paprika, Tandoori Masala (or Garam Masala) OR replace all of the dried spices and the tomato paste with a tablespoon + of Tandoori Masala Curry Paste or Butter Chicken Curry Paste or any Indian curry paste mixture you might have around.
- Water - to loosen up the sauce a bit, if you like
Here are some optional ingredients that would be nice to add, if you have them for a saucy-er curry ...
- Tomato Paste - mix your spices with 2 Tbsp of tomato paste to make your own curry paste mixture and add a bit more tomato flavour.
- Chicken or vegetable broth, instead of the water above, for a bit of extra flavour
- A bit of cream, yogurt or coconut milk, if you'd like it a bit creamy
- Brown Sugar or honey, to temper the acidity of the tomatoes, if you like
- A little bit of cayenne, red pepper flakes or Kashmiri Chili Powder, if you'd like a little heat in your curry
- Dried Fenugreek leaves (Methi) - always a great addition to any Indian curry, if you happen to have dried or frozen around
And some garnishes that would be nice if you have any these things on hand ...
- Plain yogurt, fresh cilantro and/or lime slices or wedges
- Naan bread, for serving
Step by Step Photos
Step 1: Prepare your cauliflower by trimming and coring, then breaking into bite-sized florets. Scatter on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in a 400F oven for about 25 minutes (20-30 minutes) or until just tender. You can do this ahead if you like. Just let cool and refrigerate to use later.
Step 2: Heat a bit of oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook to soften.
Step 3: Add the ginger paste and garlic and cook for a minute.
Step 4: Add the tomato paste (if using) and the dried spices and cook for another minute.
Step 5: Add the brown sugar (if using) and Fenugreek leaves (if using) to the crushed tomatoes and add to the skillet. Stir to combine.
Step 6: Add the roasted cauliflower to the pan and cook, stirring, to infuse the cauliflower with flavour.
Step 7: If desired, add some chicken broth, vegetable broth or water to the pan to loosen the sauce and make a saucy-er curry (great for dipping!). If you'd like a touch of creamy in your curry, add a bit of cream, yogurt or coconut cream or milk to the pan.
The amount of spice in a curry is very much a personal thing. As written, this recipe is what I would call a minimum of spicing. If you are a curry spice lover, simply increase the spices as you like. And don't forget the salt! When you dish is finished, have a quick taste and add salt as needed, to really bring out all the flavours. Vegetable curries like this often need a generous salting.
Ideas for serving your cauliflower curry
- Leave it chunky and spoon on top of rice with vegetables for a rice bowl. Sliced cucumber or carrot always goes well with curries.
- Leave it chunky and spoon into a tortilla with vegetables for a taco.
- Make it saucy and serve over or with rice.
- Enjoy on it's own with some Naan or other bread, for dipping (my personal favourite way to enjoy this one ;)
Easy Indian Cauliflower Curry
For roasting the cauliflower:
- 1 head cauliflower (trimmed, cored and broken into bite-sized florets)
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
For the curry:
- 1/4 cup onion (finely diced)
- 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 Tbsp ginger paste (or add 1 tsp fresh minced ginger or 1/2 tsp dried ginger to the other dried spices)
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste (optional)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp garam masala or Tandoori masala
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp coriander
- Pinch cayenne (red pepper flakes or Kashmiri Chili powder (optional - for some heat))
- 1 tsp brown sugar (optional)
- 1 tsp dried Fenugreek leaves ((optional))
- 1 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes (or any canned tomato processed down in a blender or food processor)
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth (or water)
- 2-3 Tbsp cream (yogurt or coconut cream or milk)
- Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- Lime slices or wedges (optional)
- Naan bread (for serving)
- Roast the cauliflower: Preheat oven to 400F. Remove the core of the cauliflower and break it into bite-sized florets. Scatter evenly on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Roast in preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until just tender. Remove from oven and transfer to a bowl. Set aside. (*You can roast the cauliflower ahead, let cool and refrigerate until later, if you like).
- For the curry: Take a minute to chop the onion and garlic and measure out your spices and tomatoes etc., to have them handy to add to the skillet. Heat a splash of cooking oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for a minute or two, until tender. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, another 30 seconds or so. Add the tomato paste (if using) and dried spices and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the brown sugar (if using) and Fenugreek leaves (if using) to the crushed tomatoes, then add the crushed tomatoes to the pan. Stir to combine. Add the roasted cauliflower to the pan and cook, stirring, for a few minutes to cook the flavour into the cauliflower. (You can stop here and enjoy these spicy cauliflower bits as they are. If you'd like a saucy-er curry, go to the next steps.)
- To thin the sauce, add 1/2-3/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth or just some water, to loosen the sauce (start with the lesser amount and use more if you want or need more). If you'd like your curry a little creamy, stir in 2-3 Tbsp of cream, yogurt or coconut cream or milk.
- Taste your sauce and season with salt, as needed. Generally some salting at the end is needed to really bring out the flavours.
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