Cauliflower Kurma is an Indian gravy-based dish made with nuts, seeds, and coconut. Absolutely delicious, gluten free, and vegan, this full-flavored cauliflower korma recipe is the perfect comforting dish to savor on any day.
Table of Contents
About This Recipe
Cauliflower kurma, a stew-like Indian dish, is easy to make, requires less than an hour of your time, and is the perfect comfort food in any season.
In India, we actually get the best cauliflower during the Indian winter season, so it is one of the best times to make Cauliflower Recipes, like these favorites:
This traditional cauliflower kurma recipe, from the Chettinad cuisine is inspired from the Chettinad Cookbook.
As it is with the vast Indian cuisine, there are many different versions of kurma (or korma), specifically the North and South Indian regions have recipes that differ quite a bit.
Generally, South Indian kurma recipes are made with coconut, and North Indian korma is made with dairy products and nuts, like yogurt, cream, almonds, and cashews.
How to Make Cauliflower Kurma
Blanch the Cauliflower
1. First, rinse 2½ to 3 cups of medium-sized cauliflower florets (250 grams) and add them to a mixing bowl or pan. If desired, you can add ½ teaspoon salt.
2. Next, pour hot water on top of the cauliflower, as required.
3. Allow the cauliflower florets to fully immerse and get blanched for 5 to 10 minutes. After your cauliflower has had time to blanch, drain all the water and set the cauliflower aside.
NOTE: This blanching step for you cauliflower korma recipe can be skipped if there are no insects or worms in the cauliflower.
Make Coconut Paste
4. Now, take ½ cup fresh grated coconut in a grinder jar and add it to blender or mixer-grinder.
TIP: You can also use ½ cup of frozen coconut or ⅓ cup of desiccated coconut (unsweetened), if fresh coconut is not available.
5. Then add in 2 green chillies (1 teaspoon chopped chillies), 1 teaspoon chopped ginger and 1 teaspoon chopped garlic to the coconut.
6. Next add 1 tablespoon roasted chana dal (roasted husked bengal gram), 10 to 12 cashews and 1 teaspoon poppy seeds.
NOTE: If you do not have roasted chana dal or poppy seeds, then skip adding them to your cauliflower kurma recipe. In place of cashews, add blanched and peeled almonds. The taste will change slightly with almonds though.
7. After that, add the following spices: ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, 1 inch cinnamon and 1 tiny piece of stone flower (optional).
8. Then add ⅓ to ½ cup water and grind the mixture to a smooth consistency. At this point, set the kurma masala paste aside.
9. Now heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a thick-bottomed pan on low heat. When the pan is hot, add 1 inch cinnamon and 2 cloves.
10. Then immediately add ½ teaspoon fennel seeds.
11. Now fry the mixture for a few seconds until the spices become aromatic and splutter.
12. Next add ⅓ cup chopped onions and 8 to 10 curry leaves.
13. Mix and begin to sauté.
14. Continue to sauté the onions until they become translucent and soften.
15. Then add ⅓ cup of chopped tomatoes.
16. Next add 1 to 2 pinches of turmeric powder.
17. Now mix well, and continue to sauté the tomatoes on low to medium heat.
18. Sauté until the tomatoes soften and become pulpy.
You should also see oil releasing from the sides of the onion-tomato mixture. When this happens, you’re ready to move to the next step!
Add Coconut Paste
19. Now add the ground coconut paste.
20. Mix very well.
Sauté Coconut Paste
21. Keep the heat on low or medium-low, and stir often sautéing the coconut paste.
22. Continue to sauté the coconut paste until you see oil specks at the sides. The entire coconut masala paste will also become glossy and clump together.
23. Then add the blanched cauliflower.
24. Mix well and sauté for a minute.
Cook Cauliflower Kurma
25. Then add 1.5 to 1.75 cups water.
26. Season with salt as required, then mix again.
27. Now, cover the pan with a lid and simmer on low to medium-low heat until the cauliflower is cooked and tender.
28. Be sure to check the cauliflower korma every few minutes while it simmers.
29. Continue to simmer until the cauliflower is cooked well. Be careful not to overcook the cauliflower and make them mushy.
Finish and Serve
30. Finally, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of chopped coriander leaves, and stir again. You’re now ready to serve and enjoy this creamy cauliflower kurma.
The delicious gravy is creamy, lightly spiced and goes perfectly with:
- Poori – Indian fried bread
- Parotta – flaky layered flat bread
- Chapati – soft flat bread
- Idiyappam – rice flour string hoppers
- Neer dosa – soft, lacy rice flour dosa
- Set Dosa – fluffy, soft dosa
- Ghee Rice or Steamed Rice.
Storage and Leftovers
Store any leftovers you have in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. You can also freeze this stew-like dish, just don’t add the fresh herbs until you’re ready to serve.
- Change up the chilies. I make this cauliflower korma fairly often. Sometimes I add red chilies, and other times I decide to use green chilies for the ground coconut paste. Today, I used green chilies, but you can also use dry red chilies to give the korma an orange or red color.
- Turn up the heat. For a spicy taste, you can add 3 green chilies. Alternatively, you can use 2 dry red chilies instead of green chilies.
- Use different nuts. Instead of cashews, add blanched and peeled almonds.
- Add more veggies. Apart from cauliflower, you can also add some green peas or potatoes in the kurma gravy.
Instead of curry leaves, you can use 1 small to medium tej patta (Indian bay leaf).
Yes! Make this as you would a soup or stew, right up until adding the fresh ingredients at the end of the recipe, then freeze for up to 1 month.
If the gravy is too thick, you can add more water. It’s a good idea to add water a little bit at a time do ensure you have full control over the consistency of the dish. However do not make the consistency thin by adding more water.
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For blanching cauliflower
- 250 grams cauliflower or 2.5 to 3 cups cauliflower florets
- ½ teaspoon salt – optional
- hot water as required
For coconut paste
- ½ cup fresh grated coconut
- 1 teaspoon chopped green chillies or serrano peppers or 2 green chillies
- 1 teaspoon chopped ginger or 1 inch ginger
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic or 3 to 4 medium garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon roasted chana dal (husked, split roasted bengal gram)
- 10 to 12 cashews
- 1 teaspoon poppy seeds – optional
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 inch cinnamon (true cinnamon) or ½ inch cassia cinnamon
- 1 tiny piece stone flower – optional
- ⅓ to ½ cup water – for blending or grinding
- 2 tablespoons oil – any neutral tasting oil or coconut oil
- 1 inch cinnamon (true cinnamon) or ½ inch cassia cinnamon
- 2 cloves
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- 8 to 10 curry leaves or 1 tej patta (Indian bay leaf)
- ⅓ cup chopped onions or 1 medium onion
- ⅓ cup chopped tomatoes or 1 medium tomato
- 1 to 2 pinches turmeric powder
- 1.5 to 1.75 cups water or add as required
- salt as required
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
- Take 2.5 to 3 cups of rinsed medium sized cauliflower florets (250 grams) in a bowl or pan. Optionally you can add ½ teaspoon salt.
- Pour hot water as required and let the cauliflower florets immerse and get blanched for 5 to 10 minutes. This blanching step can be skipped if there are no insects or worms in the cauliflower.
- Later drain all the water and set the cauliflower aside.
Making coconut paste
- In a grinder jar take the fresh grated coconut. You can add ½ cup of frozen coconut or ⅓ cup of desiccated coconut (unsweetened), if fresh coconut is not available.
- Also add chopped green chillies, ginger and garlic.
- Then add roasted chana dal, cashews, poppy seeds, fennel seeds, cinnamon and stone flower
- Add ⅓ to ½ cup water and grind to a smooth consistency. Set aside the ground paste.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a thick bottomed pan. Keep the heat to a low and then add cinnamon, cloves and fennel seeds.
- Fry until the spices become aromatic and splutter.
- Then add chopped onions and curry leaves.
- Sauté the onions until they turn translucent and soften.
- Then add chopped tomatoes and turmeric powder.
- Mix well and begin to sauté tomatoes on a low to medium heat until the tomatoes soften and become pulpy.
- You should also see oil releasing from the sides of the onion-tomato mixture.
- Now add the ground coconut paste and mix very well.
- Keep the heat to a low or medium-low and stirring often sauté the coconut paste till you see oil specks at the sides.
- The coconut masala paste will also become glossy and clump together.
- Then add the blanched cauliflower. Mix well and sauté for a minute.
Cooking cauliflower kurma
- Add 1.5 to 1.75 cups water. Season with salt as required. Mix again.
- Cover the pan with a lid and simmer on low to medium-low heat until the cauliflower is cooked and tender.
- In between do check the cauliflower korma and stir the gravy.
- Simmer till the cauliflower is cooked well. Do not overcook the cauliflower and make them mushy.
- Then add 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves. Mix again.
- Serve the creamy cauliflower kurma hot or warm.
- The delicious gravy is creamy, lightly spiced and goes perfectly with Poori (Indian fried bread), parotta, chapati, idiyappam, neer dosa, set dosa, peas pulao, or steamed rice.
Storage and leftovers
- Store any leftovers you have in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. You can also freeze this stew-like dish for a month, just don’t add the fresh herbs until you’re ready to serve.
- Chilies: You can use 2 dry red chilies replacing green chilies to give the korma an orange or red color.
- Spicing: For a spicy taste, you can add 3 green chilies.
- Nuts: Instead of cashews, you can use blanched and peeled almonds.
- Add-ins: Apart from cauliflower, you can add some green peas or potatoes in the korma gravy.
- Curry leaves: Instead of curry leaves, add 1 small to medium tej patta in the recipe.
- Fresh coconut: If fresh coconut is not available, replace it with ½ cup of frozen coconut or ⅓ cup of unsweetened desiccated coconut.
- Consistency: If the gravy is too thick, you can add more water. But do not make the gravy thin by adding more water.
Nutrition Info Approximate values
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This cauliflower kurma recipe post from the blog archives (December 2017) has been republished and updated on 20 March 2021.