Cauliflower Kurma

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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.

top shot of cauliflower kurma in a red bowl with a red lid slightly tilted at the side of bowl with a text layover

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.

It includes ingredients like fennel seeds, cinnamon, cloves, poppy seeds, cashews and fresh coconut. It is actually very similar to my much loved Vegetable Kurma and Potato Kurma recipes.

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.

Regardless of the variation you choose, you won’t regret warming up with a steaming bowl of this creamy cauliflower kurma and fresh rice, Paratha or Poori.

top shot of cauliflower with fresh herbs in kurma gravy, served in small red bowl with a text layover
Step-by-Step Guide

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.

close up shot of cauliflower florets in mixing bowl

2. Next, pour hot water on top of the cauliflower, as required.

water being poured into mixing bowl filled with cauliflower florets

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.

top shot of mixing bowl filled with cauliflower soaking in water

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.

close up shot of grated coconut in mixing bowl

5. Then add in 2 green chillies (1 teaspoon chopped chillies), 1 teaspoon chopped ginger and 1 teaspoon chopped garlic to the coconut.

close up shot of grated coconut, chopped ginger, and chopped chilies in a mixing bowl

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.

nuts being added to grated coconut and chopped chili mixture in mixing bowl

7. After that, add the following spices: ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, 1 inch cinnamon and 1 tiny piece of stone flower (optional).

nuts being added to grated coconut and chopped chili mixture in mixing bowl

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.

pureed coconut, chili, and spice mixture in mixing bowl

Fry Spices

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.

top shot of oil heating in saucepan

10. Then immediately add ½ teaspoon fennel seeds.

top shot of oil and seeds heating in saucepan

11. Now fry the mixture for a few seconds until the spices become aromatic and splutter.

top shot of oil and seeds cooking in saucepan

Sauté Onions

12. Next add ⅓ cup chopped onions and 8 to 10 curry leaves.

close up shot of onions and curry leaves cooking in saucepan

13. Mix and begin to sauté.

close up shot of onions and curry leaves cooking in saucepan

14. Continue to sauté the onions until they become translucent and soften.

close up shot of onions and curry leaves cooking in saucepan

Sauté Tomatoes

15. Then add ⅓ cup of chopped tomatoes.

close up shot of chopped tomatoes cooking in saucepan

16. Next add 1 to 2 pinches of turmeric powder.

close up shot of chopped tomatoes cooking in saucepan

17. Now mix well, and continue to sauté the tomatoes on low to medium heat.

close up shot of chopped tomatoes cooking in saucepan

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!

close up shot of onion and tomatoes mixture crushed up and mixed in saucepan

Add Coconut Paste

19. Now add the ground coconut paste.

close up shot of cauliflower puree being added to sautéd veggies in saucepan

20. Mix very well.

close up of masala in saucepan

Sauté Coconut Paste

21. Keep the heat on low or medium-low, and stir often sautéing the coconut paste.

close up of masala in saucepan

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.

close up of masala in saucepan

Add Cauliflower

23. Then add the blanched cauliflower.

close up of cauliflower being added on top of masala in saucepan

24. Mix well and sauté for a minute.

close up of cauliflower being mixed with masala in saucepan

Cook Cauliflower Kurma

25. Then add 1.5 to 1.75 cups water.

close up of water added to masala and cauliflower mixture in saucepan

26. Season with salt as required, then mix again.

close up of teaspoon of salt held over cauliflower korma cooking in saucepan

27. Now, cover the pan with a lid and simmer on low to medium-low heat until the cauliflower is cooked and tender.

closeup of pot cover with condensation while cauliflower korma simmers

28. Be sure to check the cauliflower korma every few minutes while it simmers.

closeup of cauliflower korma cooking in saucepan

29. Continue to simmer until the cauliflower is cooked well. Be careful not to overcook the cauliflower and make them mushy.

closeup of cauliflower korma cooking in saucepan

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.

closeup of cauliflower korma cooking in saucepan

Serving Suggestions

The delicious gravy is creamy, lightly spiced and goes perfectly with:

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.

top shot of cauliflower with fresh herbs in liquid broth, served in small red bowl
Tips

Expert Tips

  • 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.

FAQs

What can I substitute for curry leaves?

Instead of curry leaves, you can use 1 small to medium tej patta (Indian bay leaf).

Can you freeze cauliflower korma?

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.

How can I adjust the consistency of the cauliflower kurma?

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.

More Cauliflower Recipes to Try!

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top shot of cauliflower with fresh herbs in kurma gravy, served in small red bowl

Cauliflower Kurma

4.92 from 12 votes
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.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins

Cuisine Chettinad, South Indian
Course: Main Course
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan
Difficulty Level: Moderate

Servings 4
Units

Ingredients

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

Other ingredients

  • 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)
  • cup chopped onions or 1 medium onion
  • 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)

Instructions

Blanching cauliflower

  • 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.

Sautéing ingredients

  • 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.

Serving suggestions

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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

Nutrition Facts
Cauliflower Kurma
Amount Per Serving
Calories 166 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Sodium 619mg27%
Potassium 325mg9%
Carbohydrates 12g4%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 188IU4%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 24mg120%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin C 74mg90%
Vitamin E 3mg20%
Vitamin K 13µg12%
Calcium 64mg6%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 279µg70%
Iron 1mg6%
Magnesium 34mg9%
Phosphorus 80mg8%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This cauliflower kurma recipe post from the blog archives (December 2017) has been republished and updated on 20 March 2021.

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Meet Dassana

Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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8 Comments

  1. Prepared this for lunch today, it came out extremely tasty! All your recipes have been a hit. Whenever I look up recipes I make sure to check your website before checking others. Thank you for the detailed instructions. Your dedication is commendable.5 stars

    1. Thanks a lot Sarah for the lovely feedback. I am happy that the recipes are a hit. Most welcome and thanks for the rating as well.