Everyone loves a delicious curry…those bold flavors, the combination of different spices, and that creamy texture. After many trials, today I’m sharing with you my latest creation…Cauliflower Tikka Masala. Some of you may be familiar with this delicious dish. Well, this is my version of it, MUCH healthier, easy to make, and won’t leave you with a stomach ache.
Most people who say they love Indian Food are typically referring to Punjabi Food from the Northern part of India. If you’re not familiar with what I’m talking about, it’s all the curries and gravies that are full of spice, very bold in flavor, rich, and creamy. I’ve always been a huge fan of Punjabi food, but to be honest, I rarely like to go out for it these days. Now it’s mainly because most restaurant dishes are not vegan, but even before I went vegan, I found it to be too heavy and I’d always end up with a stomach ache. They have a lot of heavy cream and oil (which to me is unnecessary). So, I needed to recreate another version of this dish at home. Tikka Masala dishes are particular one of the most popular Indian dishes. You may have seen it as Paneer Tikka Masala at restaurants, but I’ve substituted cauliflower for paneer (cheese).
I love sauces or curries where you can combine almost everything in a blender, and then let it thicken on the stove. It’s easy, quick, and there is little prep required. After a few trials I came to the perfect combination of vegetables, coconut milk, and some spices to give me that wonderful bold, flavorful, rich, creamy sauce that we all love so much. Then simply let it thicken up while the cauliflower cooks in the sauce, garnish with some fresh herbs and you will have delicious Cauliflower Tikka Masala, which is also MUCH healthier. And the best part is that this one won’t leave you with a stomach ache! For this recipe, I achieved a nice level of creaminess without having to use any cashews/nuts, but for a slightly creamier dish, you can drizzle on some cashew cream at the end.
For all you Indian Food lovers out there, you MUST try this dish! You will LOVE it! And if you’ve never tried making Indian food at home, this is the perfect dish to start with. It only requires a few spices which should be readily available at most major grocery stores. Try it out and let me know what you think in the comments below!
What’s your favorite Indian dish?
Cauliflower Tikka Masala
- 1 medium cauliflower , washed and cut into medium-small florets
- 1.5 cup white onion , diced (about 1 medium white onion)
- 6 cloves garlic , minced
- 1/2 inch ginger , outer skin removed, finely grated
- 1/2 green jalapeno , diced (more or less as needed for spice)
- 1/2 teasp mustard seeds
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- freshly chopped cilantro for garnish
- 2 tbsp cashew cream , optional (see notes)
For the Sauce:
- 3 medium vine-ripe tomatoes , halved
- 1 medium red bell pepper , stem and seeds removed
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro , loosely packed
- 3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
For the Cashew Cream (optional, note that you will only be using a small amount of this cashew cream in the recipe):
- 1/2 cup raw unsalted cashews , soaked for 2-3 hours
- 1/4 cup water
To Prepare the Sauce:
- In a large non-stick saute pan, heat 1 tbsp cooking oil on medium heat.
- Add in the mustard seeds and allow them to fry for ~30 seconds. You should start to see them sizzle and start popping.
- Immediately add in the finely grated ginger, minced garlic, green jalapenos (if using), and chopped onions. Cook for a few minutes until fragrant and the onions start to become translucent. Mix frequently to avoid burning.
- While the mixture is cooking, add all the Sauce ingredients above into a blender (I used a powerful blender such as a vitamix, but any blender should work).
- Once the onions start to become transluscent, turn off the heat, and add all the contents of the saute pan (onion/garlic/ginger) into the blender containing the Sauce ingredients.
- Blend on high until completely pureed into a smooth sauce.
- Pour the sauce from the blender back into the saute pan, add all the Spices listed above, and mix to combine. Heat the sauce on medium-low until you achieve a gentle simmer. Cook uncovered for 10-15 minutes on medium-low heat.
- If possible, immediately rinse the blender out so you can use it again to make the cashew cream.
To Make the Dish:
- Add all the cauliflower florets into the sauce, toss, and cook, COVERED, for about 10 minutes on low heat or until the cauliflower florets are cooked and tender yet able to keep shape.
- Remove the cover and cook again on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for up to about 10-15 minutes OR until the sauce reduces a decent amount and thickens in consistency. While you are waiting, prepare the cashew cream if using.
- Season with additional salt if needed, turn off the heat, drizzle on 2 tbsp of cashew cream (if using), and garnish with some fresh chopped cilantro. Enjoy hot with some rice, Naan, or favorite tortilla.