Turmeric Cauliflower Curry

Easy vegetarian Cauliflower Curry with lots of anti-inflammatory Turmeric! With cauliflower, potatoes, tomatoes, and peas. 30 minutes.

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Photography Credit: Sally Vargas

Many years ago, I ran a vegetarian restaurant in Bloomington, Indiana. One of our Indian friends and customers gave me this recipe, which I’ve revised over the years. (Thank you, Santosh, wherever you are!)

This is a nice curry for a weeknight since it doesn’t involve too much heavy lifting. There are many versions in India, of course, but this one makes a substantial vegetarian meal.

The official name for this dish is “shahi” cauliflower curry. The word shahi roughly translates as “royal,” and it is indeed a royal dish!

Shahi Cauliflower Curry

Turmeric is the lead spice in this curry. It’s what gives the curry its sunny yellow color, and is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It’s the superfood of spices.

By the way, here’s a good trick for cutting apart the cauliflower, which I learned on the job at my first restaurant near Woodstock, New York. Our friendly neighbor, chef, and mentor taught us to cut a deep cross at the base and then separate the head into quarters. Slice away the core and outer leaves. Then, with a paring knife, cut between the little “branches” to make florets.

Serve this easy vegetarian curry with naan bread, cucumber raita, and a salad, and dinner is done!

Turmeric Cauliflower Curry Recipe

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  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower (about 1 3/4 pounds)
  • 3 medium Yukon gold potatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 poblano chili pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 limes, quartered, for garnish

Special equipment:

Method

1 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

2 While waiting for the water to boil, prepare the cauliflower and potatoes: Cut the potatoes into 1 1/2-inch cubes. To prepare the cauliflower, use a chef's knife to cut a deep cross into the base of the cauliflower. Place your thumbs into the crevice and pull the head apart into 4 quarters Stand each quarter upright, and slice off and discard the core and outer leaves. Break or cut the cauliflower into bite-size florets.

Shahi Cauliflower Curry Shahi Cauliflower Curry Shahi Cauliflower Curry

3 Cook the potatoes and cauliflower: Carefully transfer the potatoes into the boiling water and cook for 4 minutes. Add the cauliflower and cook for 10 minutes longer, or until the vegetables are tender. (Total cooking time is 14 to 15 minutes) Drain into a colander.

3 Make the curry sauce: In a blender or food processor, combine the water, onion, chili pepper, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, and salt. Puree until smooth.

Shahi Cauliflower Curry Shahi Cauliflower Curry

4 Cook the curry sauce: Warm the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the sauce and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the cooked cauliflower and potatoes. Taste and add more salt and garam masala, if you like.

5 Finish the dish: Stir the peas and tomatoes into the pot. Heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until hot. Just before serving, stir in the yogurt and reheat gently (do not let it boil, or the yogurt may curdle.)

Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

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Sally Vargas

Sally Pasley Vargas is a freelance writer and the author of three cookbooks (Food for Friends, The Tao of Cooking, Ten Speed Press, and The Cranberry Cookbook). She currently writes the column The Confident Cook for The Boston Globe along with seasonal recipes for the Wednesday Food Section.

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Shahi Cauliflower Curry

Showing 4 of 17 Comments

  • Muzingz

    Sadly my curry did not turn out well. I blended the ingredient for the curry but it tasted bitter even after adding more spices. Maybe instead of blending it raw sauteing it first and roasting the poblano pepper will change the taste. Maybe some garlic! I had to improvise a lot after that and even added some chicken opted out of the yogurt and decided to do coconut for a richer taste.

  • Jan

    Love your site, and appreciate the newsletters very much!

    We found this to be extremely bland for our tastes, though it looked just beautiful! To use it up, I created a puréed soup by adding browned onions, toasted cumin, coriander, red Indian pepper, and curry powder, salt and pepper, and chicken stock.

  • Torrey

    This was very good. I used ghee (clarified butter) instead of olive oil, and found that it needed quite a bit of salt. Wonderful curry flavor, will make again.

  • geri

    What a beautifully presented recipe and site. Thank you Sally. Will definitely pick up some cauliflower next trip to grocers specifically to make your recipe (=

  • Gina

    This looks delicious! Do you think it would work to use coconut milk as a substitute for the yogurt?

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