The best ‘butter’ cauliflower curry

This one has been a long time coming. I’ve been making a version of vegan butter chicken for 10 years and have refined it a little more each time.

Now, it’s perfect. The flavour is bold but delicate and rich but light. Eating this instantly transports me to an Indian restaurant… but one that doesn’t leave me feeling full and heavy afterwards.

I’ll typically make the sauce for this one on a Sunday to speed things up on a weeknight. It’s not too involved, but the time you put in to bring it all together is worth it. Trust me.

‘Butter’ cauliflower curry
Serves 4

For the sauce
1 red onion, diced
1 tin diced tomatoes
1 tin coconut milk (270ml)
1 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tbsp tamarind puree (I prefer a Thai variety over an Indian one)
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp salt
8 green cardamom pods
8 curry leaves
2 whole star anise

For the curry
5 large tomatoes, quartered
1 cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
Brown rice, to serve

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.

To prepare the sauce, add all ingredients into a pressure cooker with 1 cup of water. Cook at pressure for 4 minutes then release pressure and set aside to cool.

If you are making this without a pressure cooker, cook onion with the spices then add the coconut milk, diced tomatoes, tamarind, 1 cup of water, curry leaves and coconut sugar. Bring to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes before setting aside to cool.

Next, prepare the rest of the curry. Coat the tomatoes and cauliflower with spices, lemon juice and olive oil. Then, spread the tomatoes and cauliflower on an oven tray and roast in the oven for 15 minutes.

When sauce has cooled, remove the star anise and pour sauce into a high-speed blender. Blend on high for 60 seconds or until sauce is smooth.

Pour sauce back into a saucepan to gently heat. When ready to serve, gently fold in the roasted tomatoes and cauliflower then serve on top of some brown rice.


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