Gluten-free, Soups, Stews and Sandwiches, Vegan/Vegetarian

Indian-Inspired Cauliflower Kadhai

Loreto November 10, 2018

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Indian-Inspired Cauliflower Kadhai. This dish is the epitome of aroma, texture and flavor. Beautifully vegetarian using our star ingredient orange cauliflower, also known as cheddar cauliflower. It is time for Diwali, a time of renewal and beginning. Let’s get that kitchen all spiced up!

Happy Diwali!

Song of the day: “Aayee Hai Diwali” by Aamdani Atthanni Kharcha Rupaiya.

Indian-inspired cauliflower Kadhai

Indian-Inspired Cauliflower Kadhai. Talk about vivid colors and textures. Kadhai is a great vegetarian dish that takes flavor leveling to new heights. Wonderful toasted cumin and coriander, minced garlic and ginger, and oh that is not all. We are boarding the spice train adding even more: a red curry paste, turmeric, and garam masala. Oh Yeah………..

Diwali is about embracing the new, why not try something new and take your taste buds on a magical carpet ride with this dish!



It is that time of the month. Yes, Eat the World. This month we are traveling to India, however, it is even more special because we are creating dishes for Diwali!

The Story behind Diwali:

I have to say this is the part I like very much. Mythic stories of deities and gods and epic battles of good and evil.

The Celebration of Diwali dates way back to ancient India. Diwali commemorates the return of King Rama. In Northern parts of India, scriptures state that Rama was in exile for fourteen years. During those years he was in a battle with the demon Ravana, consequently defeating this evil by lighting rows of clay lamps. I always laugh at the thought that something simple defeats such evil, effortless…………..

The story continues………

While, in contrast, Southern parts of India, Diwali is celebrated as the day that Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura!

Five days of Diwali:
  • Firstly, Day One Dhanteras (Day of fortune).
  • Secondly, Day Two Naraka (Day of knowledge).
  • Thirdly, Day Three Diwali (Day of light).
  • Fourthly, Day Four Annakut (New Year).
  • Finally, Day Five Bahai Duj (Day of love between siblings).

I have a friend from India and he tells me that the celebrations are very beautiful. Their colorful clothing, dancing is mesmerizing.

What about the food!

The question about the food did come up naturally, right? He said there are hundreds of dishes all in plentiful supply, and equally delicious, YUM!

It would have been incredible, but……….

Nilay did ask Nicoletta and I if we wanted to attend the celebration on the 11th of November, but unfortunately, due to a prior engagement, we cannot attend. A very sad moment for both of us. Above all else, it is always good to look on the bright side, there is always next year.

All this talk about celebration and epic battles is making me hungry!

Indian-inspired cauliflower Kadhai

Time to cook!

When I saw this dish in the cookbook “I Love India” by Anjum Anand I was truly inspired to make it.

I loved that there were cauliflower and potatoes, which is always a great combination especially smothered in spices and a rich tomato sauce!

A trip to our farmers’ market.

Lately in the farmers’ markets, there has been tons of cauliflower, however, one really caught our eye. The cheddar cauliflower. Rich in that sultry cauliflower taste and it is going to look absolutely beautiful in this Indian-Inspired Cauliflower Kadhai!

Indian-inspired cauliflower Kadhai

From our garden!

It was a great year in our own garden because we are still using beautiful ingredients that we grew. Always a great feeling eating things you had a big part in creating. Potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, onion still in good supply.

Important spices in Indian cooking:

The thing that separates Indian cooking from other cultural cuisines is the spices. Cumin seed, coriander seed, turmeric, garam masala, red chilis, and curries.

All these flavor enhancers toasted and ground up and put in the mix at the right time deliver quite an incredible culinary experience.

My own little touch.

All of you know me by know. I always have to put a little of my touch to recipes. In this particular dish, I used a red curry paste in the initial sauteing of onions, garlic, and ginger.

I love the subtle heat it brings, similarly to the aroma coming from our pot from the sweet onions, and accompaniments is truly amazing!

Indian-inspired cauliflower Kadhai

The process.
  1. The very first thing is to toast the cumin and coriander seeds, then grind them.
  2. Next sauteing the onions, garlic, and ginger with some vegetable oil and red curry paste.
  3. In goes the blended tomatoes and turmeric.
  4. Toss in potatoes and carrots.
  5. Almost done, now it is time for the cauliflower and boiling water.
  6. A bit of time and in goes the finishing touches.
  7. Fenugreek leaves and garam masala are the last spices to go in.
  8. One important thing is to put your peas in the last minutes of cooking. This will prevent mushy peas.
  9. Lastly, a beautiful drizzle of cream and sprinkled basil. The recipe called for cilantro which I didn’t have so I used what I did have, basil.

That’s it! Easy breezy right?

Indian-inspired cauliflower Kadhai

Look at the beautiful colors and textures of this dish. I love how the cream just finds its way into pockets and folds, leaving the amazing ingredients a wonderful backdrop to shine from. Those peas playfully rest in this dish enticing me to a taste!

Indian-inspired cauliflower Kadhai

Tasting time!

I have to say, first of all, the aroma takes my sense of smell on a beautiful journey of exotic fragrances. The cumin, turmeric, garam masala and the red curry paste dance well together in the rich tomato sauce.

The garlic and ginger along with the sweet caramelized onions are a perfect foundation of taste to bring this dish into balance.

The vegetables perfectly cooked.  Not mushy, holding their form well. Those peas just burst in my mouth releasing mother nature’s sweetness to my palate.

The potatoes are like a comfy warm blanket, giving us that velvety smooth softness which cools the heat a bit too and so comforts our soul.

The cauliflower just melts in your mouth and that richness that it has lingers in my mouth! The basil is a perfect herb for this dish. Fresh and exhilarating!

The bread is perfect to sop up all that sauce leaving me with a very clean plate, lol. This is truly an amazing dish.

As I ate this dish I was imagining the celebrations. Colorful clothing dancing, lots of laughing and singing, and the tables upon tables of food. Isn’t culture wonderful……………..

Final Thoughts.

Check out all the wonderful Indian dishes, in honor of Diwali, prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us!

Juli: Gulab Jamun
Evelyne: Soan Papdi Indian sweet
Loreto and Nicoletta: Indian-Inspired Cauliflower Kadhai
Syama: Almond Puri
Camilla: Keema Matar
Wendy: Samosas
Amy: Spiced Golden Milk (Turmeric Milk)
Margaret: Upma, Kerala Style – A Southern Indian Savoury Breakfast Dish


Happy Diwali!

Song of the day: “Aayee Hai Diwali” by Aamdani Atthanni Kharcha Rupaiya.

Indian-inspired cauliflower Kadhai

Indian-Inspired Cauliflower Kadhai

  • Author: Loreto
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Main, Vegetarian
  • Cuisine: Indian-inspired


Indian-Inspired Cauliflower Kadhai. This dish is the epitome of aroma, texture and flavor. Beautifully vegetarian using our star ingredient orange cauliflower, also known as cheddar cauliflower. It is time for Diwali, a time of renewal and beginning. Let’s get that kitchen all spiced up!

Inspired by the cookbook “I Love INDIA” by Anjum Anand.


For the Kadhai masala:

  • 1 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 3/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 12 dried chiles
  • 8 black peppercorns

For the sauce:

  • 4 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp red curry paste
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • a handful of small tomatoes (or 3 medium-large)
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • salt
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp fenugreek leaves, crushed between your fingers
  • 23 Tbsp light cream
  • basil leaves (or cilantro if you like it) to serve

For the vegetables:

  • 2 medium potatoes (or 1 large), cut in big cubes
  • 1 carrot, cut in half moons
  • 1 small-medium cauliflower, the florets
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2/3 cups frozen peas, defrosted


  1. In a small frying pan, gently dry-roast the spices for the kadhai masala, stirring often to avoid any burning. Once the coriander seeds have colored a little, pour everything into a spice blender (or mortar and pestle) and grind to a powder.
  2. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan, add the onion and cook until golden.
  3. Put red curry paste and ground Kahdai spices in and stir well.
  4. Add the ginger and garlic and saute for 1 minute.
  5. Add the blended tomatoes, turmeric, and salt. Cook over a medium-high heat until the mixture has completely reduced and releases the oil back into the pan.
  6. Stir in the potato and carrot, cover and cook gently for 5 minutes.
  7. Add the cauliflower florets and boiling water. Return to the boil, Cover and cook for another 15 minutes or until the vegetables are just cooked.
  8. Add the peas for the last couple of minutes.
  9. Add the garam masala and fenugreek leaves to the pan and give it a stir.
  10. Take off heat sprinkle over, with the cream and basil.
  11. Adjust for seasoning and serve.
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Indian-inspired cauliflower Kadhai

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  • Avatar
    Reply Juli November 10, 2018 at 8:31 am

    This lools delicious, i love cauliflower.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 16, 2018 at 7:30 am

      Thank you Juli, I am also a big fan of cauliflower. It marries so well with the exotic spices of this dish.
      Here’s to ethic food!

  • Avatar
    Reply Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop November 10, 2018 at 8:54 am

    There’s nothing better than learning – and eating – about foods from another culture. This dish looks delicious and comforting.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 16, 2018 at 7:28 am

      Hi Kathy, I agree. We have so much to learn about each other and food seems like a peaceful way of doing it. I was definitely transported to India for Diwali in this dish! Thank you!

  • Avatar
    Reply Syama November 10, 2018 at 10:44 am

    I have had curried cauliflower in so many variations – but this looks so tempting. Will definitely be trying your version .

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 16, 2018 at 7:26 am

      Hi Syama, cauliflower and Indian spices are a match made in heaven. I think you are going to love this dish!

  • Avatar
    Reply Wendy Klik November 10, 2018 at 11:51 am

    What a gorgeous dish.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 16, 2018 at 7:25 am

      Thank you! It has all the right color for this time of year.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 16, 2018 at 7:28 am

      Thank you Wendy, truly enjoyed creating this one!

  • Avatar
    Reply Evelyne November 10, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    Absolutely great read, lots of work in your post. And what a stunning dish, I wish I could try it. Too bad you are busy nov 11th indeed.

    • Loreto Nardelli
      Reply Loreto Nardelli December 13, 2019 at 1:21 pm

      Thank you so much. We would have lived to share some of this with you!😊🙏

  • Avatar
    Reply Margaret@Kitchen Frau November 11, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    The colours of your dish are amazing – just the thing we need to cheer us up on these drab winter days. I’ll bet the flavours match the colours! I really loved learning about Diwali from your post – an excellent and informative read!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 13, 2018 at 6:24 am

      Thank you Margaret. I have to confess Indian culture is one of my favorite. During my mid to late thirties I spent a fair bit of time in an Indian temple. I also helped prepare lunches with the elderly ladies in the temple kitchen. Wonderful memories for me. This Kadhai was stupendous, the aroma and flavors transport to to an exotic and mysterious land!

  • Avatar
    Reply Dana November 12, 2018 at 9:45 am

    Thanks for the history! We have several Indian friends and we actually celebrated Diwali with them last year, pot luck style. I’m totally going to whip this up if we decide to do it again this year! This looks and sounds amazing and oh-so-comforting.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 13, 2018 at 6:15 am

      Thank you Dana, It is nice having friends from different cultures, and even more of a blessing to celebrate their traditions to get a real feel for life in their world. Let’s not forget all the good food!
      Have fun celebrating!
      Happy Diwali

  • Avatar
    Reply Denise from Urb’n’Spice November 13, 2018 at 10:37 pm

    This was a very exciting dish for me to read about, Loreto. I love learning about new to me dishes from other cultures. The Kadhai sounds wonderful! Many thanks for sharing your recipe and the wonderful story, too.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 16, 2018 at 7:20 am

      Thank you Denise. With Technology going as fast as it is, one thing that we can keep is our ability to share stories and passions. Thnks for taking the time to read this post. Those experiences at the Indian Temple will live in me forever and that I will definately share with all of you!

  • Avatar
    Reply Alexa November 14, 2018 at 7:24 am

    Makes my mouth water!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 16, 2018 at 7:18 am

      Thank you Alexa, will have to make some for you soon!

  • Avatar
    Reply mimi rippee November 15, 2018 at 7:22 am

    This is a beautiful dish. Love that it’s Indian and Thai inspired!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 15, 2018 at 7:27 am

      Thank you Mimi, always inspired by cultures and love the idea of fusion cuisine.
      Have a wonderful day!

  • Avatar
    Reply Jo Vanderwolf November 15, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    First all of, this looks amazing! I can only imagine how good it must smell! Secondly, your photos are always so beautiful! I want to crawl right in the bowl 🙂 Pinned to try later! Thank you for sharing.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 16, 2018 at 7:17 am

      Thank you Jo, your kinds words have lifted our spirits. Creativity I believe is the true expression of the soul, and life with out it would be unheard of. Photography for Nicoletta and I is a way that we can share our passion for food!
      Have a most wonderful finish to the week!

  • Avatar
    Reply Liliana November 16, 2018 at 11:21 am

    This dish looks amazing! It’s colourful and I love the way you described the flavours. Sounds delicious.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 18, 2018 at 8:10 pm

      Thank you Liliana. I love Indian food, all those spices just get me talking flavor and texture! Gotta make more of those Indian dishes.
      Stay Tuned!

  • Avatar
    Reply Kristen November 16, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    This looks almost too pretty to eat. Gorgeous flavours, I can’t wait to give it a try.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 18, 2018 at 8:17 pm

      Thank you, the look of this dish teases you into tasting it, then the flavors and spices kick in to win you over!
      Happy cooking!

  • Avatar
    Reply Fouzia November 16, 2018 at 6:32 pm

    Your kadhai cauliflower looks so beautiful with vibrant colours. I can imagine the aroma of the roasted spices filling the air. It must have been really delicious!

    • Loreto Nardelli
      Reply Loreto Nardelli December 13, 2019 at 1:23 pm

      It was and I love how the aroma of the spices fill the house, so joyful and delightful!. Thank you for checking it out!🤗

  • Avatar
    Reply Ruby Glaser December 13, 2019 at 11:36 am

    I am making this recipe but I didn’t realize the red curry paste was the Khadai masala & I added 2 teaspoons of curry paste to the recipe. If it wasn’t the Khadai Masala, then when should I add the Khadai masala to the dish which you didn’t indicate on your recipe??

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto December 13, 2019 at 1:36 pm

      How Ruby, Sorry it was missed in the instructions. It has been corrected and to answer your question add the kadhai when you add the red curry paste. I hope that helps and thank you for reaching out to us!
      Have a great day!

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