Indian Spiced Cauliflower (Bhunni Gobhi)

Of all the vegetables out there, cauliflower has to be one of the least exciting. It’s bland. It’s always left behind when there’s a broccoli-carrot-cauliflower veggie tray.

The dish you see pictured above turned me into a cauliflower lover. Sometime in my 20s, I began liking just about every vegetable I tried, but not cauliflower. I pushed it to the side of the plate when it appeared. It looked gross. The crunch was irritating. I didn’t care for the flavor. But like broccoli, it’s incredibly good for you. I wanted to like it. So, a couple of years ago, I told a few of my sources that I’d start eating cauliflower, as well as run a marathon, if Missouri and Illinois officials agreed on how to pay for a new Mississippi River bridge (Long story. I covered this for the paper. Officials bickered about it for years.). Anyway, the bridge is now under construction. I’ve run the marathon. And last summer, guess what I started eating?

I bought a snowy white head of it for the first time last June, from one of the Mennonite stands at the Tower Grove Farmers’ Market. I tried this recipe on a whim. I can’t remember what led me to it, but it blew me away. The following week I bought more and made it again. And tonight, we had a repeat performance.

The combination of soft cauliflower and potatoes, spiced up with ginger, cayenne, turmeric, salt and garam masala is enough to satisfy any Indian food junkie. It’s a common Indian dish, but it was new to me because I’d avoided cauliflower up until now. I know I’m gushing, sorry. It’s just that good.

Indian Spiced Cauliflower (Bhunni Gobhi)
1,000 Indian Recipes

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into 1-inch florets, soft stems cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon peeled minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, including soft stems
1/2 teaspoon garam masala

Heat half of the oil in a large nonstick wok or saucepan over medium heat and cook the potatoes, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, leaving behind as much oil as possible.

Add the remaining oil and the cauliflower to the pan an cook, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Mix in the potatoes.

Add the ginger, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and salt. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring as needed, until the cauliflower and potatoes are very soft (almost mushy), 20 to 30 minutes. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water, if needed. Add the cilantro during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle the garam masala on top, and serve.

Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish


3 Responses to “Indian Spiced Cauliflower (Bhunni Gobhi)”

  1. 1 Nancy
    June 14, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    Elizs! Your recipes are wonderful. Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables, and this looks scrumptious. Thanks!

  2. 3 Tes
    June 15, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    I’ve made cauliflower today, too. This recipe I really have to try. It sounds so yummy. Thanks for sharing.

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