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!
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
- 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
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.