Here’s a vegetarian dish that is a super popular feature in menus of North Indian restaurants across the country – Gobi Masala. Yes, it involves an elaborate ingredient list, but if you follow it well, it’s not that difficult. Plus, the result will give you a delicious, creamy and lightly spiced Cauliflower Masala which is actually restaurant style in flavors and texture. So, you really won’t have to head out to enjoy this dish anymore. This Indian style cauliflower dish is absolutely worth a try.
About Gobi Masala
Cauliflower or gobi in Hindi, is available throughout the year in many parts of the country. But I will still say that the flavors that develop in this recipe of Gobi Masala with the winter special cauliflower is something else altogether. That’s the reason, this particular dish is more of a specialty during the chilly winters in North India.
It is true that cauliflower is a versatile vegetable that can be used in myriad ways to create some of the most stunning and delicious dishes.
For instance, one of the most celebrated dishes is roasted tender whole cauliflowers in a creamy makhani gravy, also known as gobi musallam.
I think it comes a second favorite of mine, to this restaurant style Cauliflower Masala. I hope to develop the recipe and share it soon!
This Gobi Masala is liked by everyone else as well at my home. Since the day I had developed this version of the recipe, everyone actually prefers having it at home rather than stepping out and heading to a restaurant to have it.
Because with this specific Cauliflower Masala recipe, you can actually make this dish with a similar restaurant taste, but in a cleaner and more hygienic environment. And with the best quality ingredients too.
There’s actually no compromise in quality. Plus, you can serve it whichever Indian flatbread you wish to, steamed rice or all at once.
Plus, while you’ve got the freshest produce of cauliflower at home, there’s so much more you can try out with it. Check out these Gobi Recipes for the most amazing dishes made with lovely veggie.
More on this Cauliflower Masala
The creaminess and richness in this curry comes from cashews, yogurt and cream. The aromatics like onions and other spices and also tomatoes bring a balance in the flavors and rounds up with the earthy flavor of cauliflower.
There is a unique ingredient which I always add to this curry. It is called kasuri methi which are basically dried fenugreek leaves. This herb has a lovely fragrance and gives a good aroma and flavor to the dish.
You can skip adding kasuri methi if it is unavailable to you. But kasuri methi can be easily found in Indian or Asian stores or online if you live outside India.
One very important point to remember while working with gobi is that, whether you are using it to make this Gobi Masala or any other recipe, you should always blanch it to get rid of the insects or worms that may be present in it.
In this simple recipe of Cauliflower Masala, you can also add other steamed or boiled veggies in it as a variation. Potatoes and green peas really go great in this gravy.
Cauliflower is a very common vegetable that I usually stock up on at home. And I would say that the preparations with it are also quite frequent, almost weekly.
There are various dishes with gobi that I keep making at home. For instance, most of the times, I also make this Aloo Gobi along with the Cauliflower Masala which is more of a special occasion choice.
Since the curry has rich flavors in it, the best way to relish it is with chapati, naans or tandoori rotis or rumali roti or paratha. If you are a rice lover, then pair it with some cumin rice or saffron rice or ghee rice or the good old plain steamed rice.
How to make Gobi Masala
1. Chop 1 medium size cauliflower (gobi) into medium florets. Rinse well and keep aside. Heat 3 cups water with salt till it starts boiling.
Switch off the heat and add the florets to the hot water. Cover and keep aside for 15 to 20 minutes.
2. In the meantime, chop 1 medium size onion and crush the ginger-garlic (3 to 4 garlic cloves and ½ inch ginger).
Also, grind the tomato and cashews (2 medium size tomatoes and 1 tablespoon whole cashews) to a smooth and fine paste on high speed in a blender with very little water.
If there is too much water, then the mixture starts spluttering when sautéing it. Keep aside.
3. Drain the cauliflower florets and gently wipe them dry. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a kadai or wok. You can use any neutral-flavored oil.
Add the blanched cauliflower florets to the hot oil and sauté on low to medium heat till they start getting light brown spots on them. Approximately 8 to 10 minutes on low to medium heat.
4. Then, remove the sautéed cauliflower florets on a plate and keep them aside.
Making Gobi Masala
5. In the same pan or kadai, add 2 tablespoons of oil. Add 1 tej patta and ½ teaspoon of caraway seeds (shahi jeera). Fry for a few seconds on low heat or till the oil becomes aromatic.
6. Add 1 medium size finely chopped onions (about 1/3 cup).
7. Sauté stirring often on low to medium heat till the onions turn golden and are caramelized. Make sure the onions don’t get burnt, as then the curry will have a bitter taste.
8. Then, add 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste and sauté on low heat for a few seconds till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.
9. Add the prepared tomato-cashew paste and stir to mix to get an even mixture.
10. Add the following spice powders:
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder
- ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
11. Sauté, stirring often, till the oil starts to leave the sides of the masala. The whole masala paste will clump together and you will clearly see the oil leaving the sides.
This is an important step as if not done properly, the flavors don’t come through in the dish. Takes approximately 12 to 14 minutes on low heat.
12. Switch off the heat and add 3 to 4 tablespoons full fat whisked yogurt (curd). Make sure the curd you use is fresh and not sour.
13. Immediately stir and mix very well. Then add 1 to 1.5 cups water. Add water as required.
Here I get cauliflower which takes more time to cook. Thus, I added more water. If the cauliflower takes less time to cook, add less water.
If you have sauteed the cauliflower more than what is mentioned in the above steps, then also you will have to add less water as the cauliflower will be already cooked.
So, just add enough water as needed to get a medium consistency gravy, then add the cauliflower and simmer for a minute.
14. Stir again and keep the kadai or pan on the stovetop again. Now, add the sautéed cauliflower florets and salt as required.
Cooking Gobi Masala
15. Stir and cover the kadai or pan with a tight lid. In the photo below I have not covered the pan with the lid as I wanted to show the consistency of the curry.
16. Cook Gobi Masala on low to medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes or till the florets are cooked completely and are fork tender. But don’t make them mushy.
The cooking time for the cauliflower will depend upon its quality.
Keep checking at intervals. If the water dries up, then you can always add some more water.
17. Lastly, add ½ teaspoon crushed dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi), 2 tablespoons low fat cream or 1 tablespoon heavy cream and a pinch of nutmeg powder. Stir the curry.
If you don’t have kasuri methi then skip adding them.
18. Serve Gobi Masala hot or warm with phulka or paratha or tandoori roti or naan or rumali roti . In the picture below, I have served the Cauliflower Masala with paratha and a vegetable raita.
It can also be paired with jeera rice, ghee rice or plain steamed basmati rice.
- Blanch the cauliflower in hot water before using it in this recipe. Helps to get rid of the hidden worms or insects in it, if any.
- It is best to use full fat fresh yogurt (curd) or yogurt made with whole milk in this recipe, or else it will end up curdled while getting cooked. You can also skip the yogurt, if you want. The curd should not be very sour.
- While sautéing the onions, ensure to not burn them as then you will end up with a bitter tasting curry.
- You have to sauté the masala very well, till you see oil leaving the sides. A good 12 to 15 minutes on low heat. If you don’t do this properly, then the flavors will not come through in this preparation.
- Add water accordingly to cook the cauliflower. If it takes less time to cook, then add less water. If you have sauteed the gobi more than what is mentioned in the recipe, then also add less water as it will be already cooked.
- If you don’t have the nutmeg powder, then skip adding it. But according to me, kasuri methi and cream are essentials in this gravy for that specific restaurant feel in the dish.
- Use fresh and firm cauliflower as it is the star ingredient in the recipe.
More Cauliflower Recipes To Try!
Indo Chinese Recipes
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Gobi Masala | Cauliflower Masala
for sauteing the cauliflower
- 1 medium head cauliflower or gobi
- 3 tablespoon oil for sauteing the cauliflower
main ingredients for gobi masala
- 1 medium sized onion, chopped finely
- 3 to 4 garlic + ½ inch ginger – crushed or made into a paste in a mortar-pestle or 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
- 3 to 4 tablespoon full fat fresh curd (yogurt) – whipped till smooth (optional) * check notes
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon Garam Masala
- 1 teaspoon Coriander Powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 small tej patta (indian bay leaf)
- ½ teaspoon caraway seeds (shah jeera)
- ½ teaspoon crushed kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
- 1 to 1.5 cups water – add ½ cup more if required
- 2 tablespoon low fat cream or light cream – 25% to 35% low fat. Or can add 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 2 tablespoon oil for the curry
- salt as required
to make the paste
- 2 medium sized tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon whole cashews
preparation for gobi masala
- Chop the cauliflower into medium florets. Rinse well and keep aside.
- Heat 3 cups water with salt till its starts boiling.
- Switch off and add the florets in the hot water. Cover and keep aside for 15-20 minutes.
- In the meantime, chop the onion and crush the ginger-garlic in a mortar-pestle.
- Also grind or blend the tomato-cashews to a smooth paste on a high speed in a blender with very little water. If there is too much water, then the mixture starts spluttering when sauting it.
- Keep the tomato-cashew paste aside.
sauteing gobi for making gobi masala
- Drain the cauliflower florets and keep aside and gently wipe them dry..
- Heat oil in a kadai or wok till it starts shimmering. You can use any neutral flavored oil.
- Add the blanched cauliflower florets to the oil and saute on a low to medium heat till they start getting light brown spots on them.
- This takes approx 8 to 10 minutes.
- Then remove the sauted cauliflower and keep aside.
making gobi masala
- In the same pan, add 2 tbsp oil. Add the bay leaf and caraway seeds.
- Fry for a few seconds or till the oil become aromatic.
- Add the chopped onions and saute till the onions get golden and caramelized.
- Then add the ginger-garlic paste and saute for a few seconds till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.
- Add the tomato-cashew paste and stir.
- Add the spice powders – coriander, cumin, red chili, garam masala and turmeric.
- Saute stirring often till the oil starts to leave the sides of the masala.
- The whole masala paste will clump together and you will see oil clearly leaving the sides.
- This is an important step as if not done properly, the flavors don’t come through in the dish.
- Switch off the stove and then add the whisked yogurt.
- Stir very well and then add 1 to 1.5 cups water. do add water as required. here I get cauliflower which takes more time to cook. Thus I add more water. If the cauliflower takes less time to cook, then add less water.
- If you have fried the cauliflower more than what is mentioned in the recipe, then also you will have to add less water as the cauliflower will be already cooked. So just add enough water to get a medium consistency gravy. Let it come to a boil. Then add the cauliflower and simmer for a minute.
- Stir again and keep the kadai or pan on the fire again.
- Now add the sauteed cauliflower florets plus salt.
- Stir and cover the kadai or pan with a tight lid.
- Cook the cauliflower masala on low to medium flame for approx 10 to 15 minutes or till they are cooked completely.
- Keep on checking at intervals.
- Lastly add the crushed kasuri methi, cream and a pinch of nutmeg. Stir the curry and switch off the fire.
- Serve gobi masala hot with rotis, naan or rice.
- * you can skip the yogurt in the recipe if you want. Use full fat fresh yogurt as otherwise the yogurt may curdle while cooking. Also the curd should not taste very sour as this will result in making the curry too tangy.
- If the gravy starts appearing dry then you can add some water.
- You can alter the spices according to your preferences.
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This Gobi Masala Post from the blog archives, first published in November 2013 has been republished and updated on December 2022.
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I’ve always liked the way people in India can just take just one vegetable and cook it so nicely! This particular dish has become a staple in our place – just without cream, which is too heavy for the daily food.
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