Friday 4 November 2011

Indian Style Cauliflower Stir Fry

I have always thought that the humble cauliflower is a very underrated vegetable. It gets thrown into soups and cauliflower cheeses. Its delicate flavours are usually masked with strong ones, never giving it a chance to shine on its own. I have always liked cauliflower, not just the taste, but also it ease of preparation and not to mention the fact that it is super nutritious and healthy, plus locally available too. Win-win all round for me.

In this recipe, despite the ominous presence of the Madras curry powder, the flavours of the farm fresh, local cauliflower come through strongly and hold their own with no trouble. The spices enhance, rather than take away from, the fresh taste, and for a quick and easy dish, it packs a powerful punch of flavour. This was one of my mum's standby recipes for a easy, quick and very nutritious supper, one that satisfies the finickiest of eaters. As a child I loved it with plain rice, or with chapathis (when mum could be bothered to make them, they were not her (or mine) favourite thing in the world) A little bit of lime or mango pickle on the side, and we were sorted.

I have messed around with the spice quantities a bit. I am trying to get Aditi to eat more spicy food, as its part of her culture. Realistically, I should have started her on spice much earlier. But our various moves and rushing around meant that it was easier to go with food that was less spicy and more Western palate friendly, so she is not the biggest fan of spices, as a result.

So I am beginning to ease her into spice slowly. This means using my milder spice blends, as opposed to the spicier ones. The homemade Madras curry powder is perfect for easy one pot stews and stir fries, and as I make it from scratch, I am able to control how hot I make it. As the predominant spice mix in this dish, I would very strongly urge you to try making your own at home. It is not hard, takes very little time, and tastes tonnes better than store bought. However, I do understand that not everyone has the luxury of being able to do this, so if you are using store bought, use the milder variety for this dish.

This dish is very mildly spiced, but is unmistakably Indian. If you want to amplify the spice level to make it hotter, use half a teaspoon of hot chilli powder, and add it along with the Madras curry powder. I have chosen not to garnish with fresh coriander, but you are welcome to add it at the end of cooking time for some colour and a zingy finish. My mum also makes this dish with ghee, but I prefer to use the healthier olive oil instead. Ghee does add an unique and very characteristic flavour to the dish though, so if you can deal with the calories, substitute the oil with 2 tsp of ghee.

Either way, I will guarantee that this will be a dish that will grace your table on many ocasions, just as it does mine. It's simple, delicious Indian food at its best.

Indian Style Cauliflower Stir Fry

(Printable Recipe)

½ a head of cauliflower, broken into florets
1 medium onion, diced
½ tsp whole cumin seeds
1 tomato, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1½ tsp Madras curry powder (homemade is best. If using store bought, use the mild variety)
1 tsp, or to taste salt
1 tbsp olive oil (don't use extra virgin)
¼ cup hot water


In a wide pan, heat the olive oil, and on a medium to high heat, sauté the onion and the whole cumin seeds, until soft and just turning brown around the edges.

Add the diced tomato, garlic, Madras curry powder and salt, and stir and fry together for about 3 - 5 minutes, until the tomato is very squishy and the mixture is beginning to dry out.

Add the cauliflower to this onion-tomato masala, and stir to coat the florets well, around 1 - 2 minutes.

Add the hot water, stir, then cover the pan, and let the cauliflower cook for about 5 - 8 minutes in the steam. The time depends on how soft you like your vegetables. I like them with a little crunch, so I only cook for about 5 minutes. Cooking time will also depend on how big your florets are. The smaller they are, the sooner they will cook, so check on them every 2 - 3 minutes.

Once the cauliflower is cooked, take off the heat, stir again, and serve hot with rice, roti or naan and a lime or mango pickle.

This post is linked to the Healthy Cooking Challenge, over at My Tasty Curry.


  1. Looks great! I just posted a cauliflower recipe on my blog too! :) Love the Madras curry powder..definitely have to give it a try!

  2. Thanks so much for linking it to my event! :)

  3. Hello. I am rounding up entries for my HCC event. I wanna mention everybody's names. I can't find yours anywhere! :) Can you please drop a comment on any of my posts so that I know? Currently, your post reads : from Food, Football & Baby. :) Thanks!

  4. Hi michelle! Thanks so much for linking your entry to my HCC event & making it a huge success! Find your entry in the Roundup Part I , Part II or Part III (to be uploaded tomorrow)

    I would love to have your entries in my ongoing events:
    Jingle All The Way &
    Microwave Easy Cooking. Do participate!
    Have a great day! :)
    Kavi | Edible Entertainment


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