I hated cauliflower as a kid. My mom forced me to eat broccoli and I tolerated it, and even grew to like it once I began cooking it as an adult. But I drew the line at cauliflower. I wouldn’t touch the stuff. As an adult, though, I tried it in curries at Indian buffets and realized that it wasn’t bad if treated properly.
So nowadays, I enjoy cauliflower in Indian food, and that’s still about it. I wish I could like the vegetable more, because I know it’s good for me. I just find it difficult to care.
This cauliflower curry has a short ingredient list and is easy to make. Honestly, the most unusual ingredient to me is the cauliflower! I particularly like that I don’t have to have my ingredients ready before I start cooking. While I saute onions, I can blend the spices with the remaining onion. While the pureed onion cooks, I can chop up the cauliflower. And I can set my timer and go downstairs to bike for a short time while dinner finishes up.
I’ve made it twice now, and it was tasty both times. The kitchen certainly smelled like cauliflower when I returned upstairs once the curry was done, but the vegetable wasn’t bitter. The curry was flavorful from the onion and the spices. The jalapeno flakes that I included added a little floral heat to the dish. The tomatoes were a nice addition – I would consider adding the whole can sometime, honestly. This is a simple, clean, uncomplicated curry that I think is best as a side dish, although I think you could turn it into a main meal if you wanted. If you want something different and unfussy to do with a head of cauliflower, give this a try.
An easy, vegetarian/vegan side dish. Make it as spicy as you like by adjusting the amount of pepper in it. Add a can or two of chickpeas to it to make it a full meal!
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 onion (diced, and divided)
- 1 jalapeno (small, and diced) (or 1 teaspoon dried jalapeno flakes)
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 cup water (divided)
- 1 large head cauliflower (cut into 1-inch pieces; I thinly slice the stems too)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
- 1/2 cup diced tomato (1 fresh tomato, or grape tomatoes; canned are fine too)
- 2 tablespoons cilantro
- cooked rice (to serve)
Heat vegetable oil in a large, deep skillet or pot over medium heat. Add 1/2 the onion and all the jalapeno. Saute for 5 minutes, until onion begins to brown.
Meanwhile, grind the coriander and cumin seeds in a food processor or blender. Add the remaining onion and 1/4 cup water. Blend until combined.
Once the onion in the skillet is beginning to brown, add in the onion puree. Use another 1/4 cup water to rinse your blender, and add oniony water to the skillet. Cook until onion sauce begins to stick to the bottom of the pot, about 10 minutes. (Meanwhile, you can chop the cauliflower if you haven't already.)
Deglaze the pot with the remaining 1/2 cup water. Add the cauliflower and some salt, and toss with onion sauce to combine. Cover and reduce heat to medium low.
Cook 25-30 minutes, until cauliflower is tender. (I tend to cut mine a little smaller than 1 inch, so I check mine early. Remove from heat immediately - you don't want mushy cauliflower!)
Add tomato and cilantro (if using) and toss gently to combine. Heat briefly to combine if necessary. Serve as a side dish, or over rice as a main course.
Don't like spicy? Omit the jalapeno entirely.
Want to make it a meal? Add a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas to the curry during the last 5 minutes of cooking time. Or do what I usually do: saute drained, rinsed, and dried chickpeas in a skillet with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper over medium heat for a few minutes. They will begin to roast and pop, and be a nice counterpart for the curry.
Calorie counts are based solely on ingredients for cauliflower curry, and do not include rice or chickpeas.
adapted from Food and Wine magazine
Recipe text updated 7/13/2019