This Butter Cauliflower Curry recipe is a vegetarian interpretation on the classic Indian dish, called Butter Chicken. In this version, cauliflower florets are simmered in a warmly spiced creamy tomato coconut sauce and served over rice. It’s easy to prepare and uses pantry staple ingredients, and makes for tasty leftovers when reheated.
Gobi Makhani / Gobi Butter Masala
Gobi simply translates to Cauliflower and in Indian cookery, Makhani means an Indian dish cooked in a rich sauce made with butter or ghee, onions, tomatoes, and cream. This dish is also known as Butter Masala, which refers to the rich mix of spices and other ingredients that make up this popular Indian dish that is served in a buttery creamy tomato sauce.
This dish is most widely known as being made with chicken and a heavy cream. I choose to go with a vegetarian version and swapped chicken for nutrient packed cauliflower, and replaced the heavy cream and butter with coconut milk, coconut oil and ghee. The result is a lighter coconut cauliflower curry that still has all the wonderful flavour and richness that could be expected from a traditional butter curry recipe.
Although many Indian curry recipes call for cream or yoghurt, my secret to a delicious Indian sauce, whether it’s vegetarian, vegan or otherwise, is to replace the dairy products with coconut milk. It’s every bit as delicious (if not more!) and still delivers lots of creaminess while pairing really well with the spices.
What to serve with Butter Cauliflower Curry
I love serving this dish with short whole grain rice over whole grain basmati rice. Though, if you are looking for a little more protein, or to bulk this recipe up, you could serve it with quinoa or add some cooked chickpeas to it. Cauliflower and chickpeas are terrific together.
Looking for other Indian curry recipe inspiration?
Then try one of these delicious curry recipes:
- Lamb Curry with Chickpeas & Tomatoes
- Curried Rice with Roasted Carrots
- Spicy Indian Eggplant Curry
- Beetroot Curry with Coconut Milk & Spinach
Indian Butter Cauliflower Curry
For the spice mix:
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon paprika (sweet)
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (ceylon)
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
For the curry:
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons ghee (or butter)
- 1 medium yellow onion finely, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 x 400 g can organic diced tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth (375 ml)
- 1 medium head of cauliflower cut into florets
- 200 ml can organic coconut milk
- A squeeze of lemon juice (1/2 small lemon, or to taste)
- Fresh cilantro leaves, to garnish
- Whole grain or basmati rice
Combine spices in a bowl. Set aside.
Melt 1 tablespoon oil and the ghee in a large pot (or wok) over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until start to soften, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the garlic, ginger, and tomato paste; cook for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Then add the spices; and cook for 1 more minute, stirring.
Add the tomato and broth; season with salt and pepper, to taste and bring the mixture to a light boil. Reduce heat slightly and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
Stir in cauliflower florets and cook, cover partially with a lid, over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is tender (depending on size of florets and whether you prefer crisp-tender or very tender).
Stir in coconut milk, and cook until heated through, about 1-2 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and serve over rice. Garnish with fresh cilantro and enjoy!
- Chickpeas are a nice addition to this vegetarian curry. Feel free to add a can of rinsed and drained chickpeas during the last 5-10 minutes of cooking.
- I recommend Garam Masala from Lebensbaum . You can get this in every organic shop (unpaid advertising).
For a relaxing atmosphere in the kitchen I recommend my personal Elle Republic: Chilled Out Kitchen Tunes Playlist on Spotify.
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