Cauliflower tikka masala is a rich creamy Indian curry. Serve this restaurant-style curry with naan or tandoori roti.
Restaurant Style Cauliflower Tikka Masala
Tikka recipes are my all-time favorite. Cauliflower tikka masala or paneer tikka masala or mushroom tikka masala all are made in a similar way. The tikka marination is the main process to make the perfect restaurant-style tikka masala.
Cauliflower is one of the low carb and healthy vegetables. This vegetable is recommended for the keto diet also.
Other cauliflower recipes are:
- Cauliflower Fried Rice (vegan, gluten-free)
- Vegan Butter Cauliflower
- Cauliflower Stuffed Flat Bread (Vegan)
- Gobi Manchurian (vegan)
- Cauliflower Schezwan Fried Rice (vegan)
- Aloo Gobi Masala (Dry) (vegan, gluten-free)
- Keto Stir-fried vegetables (vegan, gluten-free)
Cauliflower is a versatile vegetable I must say. You add it to any dish, I'll enhance the taste of the dish. Normally this is widely available in winters in India. But nowadays you may get them all season. But the fresh aroma is what you will get in seasonal ones.
What is tikka masala?
Tikka masala is an Authentic Indian curry recipe made with lots of aromatic spices. The preparation method is a little bit different than regular curry.
This is typical curry preparation of North India and very popular in street-side vendors or dhabas. If you ever travel via road in the north like Panjab, Chandigarh, and all Northern Indian in fact, tikka masala is a popular dish like dal makhani and dal tadka. This goes well with tandoori roti or naan of dhaba.
What is tikka?
Tikka is a grilled item (vegetable or paneer) that is soaked in a marination mixture. Basic tikka marinade is a mixture of spices and hung curd. For the binding, we use roasted gram flour.
The formula of perfect tikka marinade mixture:
Hung curd + ginger garlic paste + red chilli powder (paprika) + coriander powder + cumin powder + turmeric powder + garam masala + kasuri methi (dried fenugreek) + ajwain+ chat masala + black salt + regular salt + lemon juice + mustard oil + roasted gram flour ( for binding )
I know the list of spices is quite a long list but that brings in that unique flavor. **When we add leftover marinade mixture to the gravy and simmer, the gram flour makes the gravy thicker consistency.
How can I make Vegan Cauliflower Tikka Masala?
Yes even if you are vegan you can make this curry into vegan. Cauliflower is one of the best for vegan and keto diet as well. But here to make the tikka masala vegan, you need to replace hung curd with vegan dairy-free curd, like coconut yogurt.
There is another good option of vegan tikka masala where you can take mushroom and use vegan curd and make Mushroom Tikka Masala. Also, you can make vegan paneer tikka masala by replacing paneer with vegan paneer i.e. tofu. And of course plain curd with vegan curd.
Recipe Card for Cauliflower Tikka Masala
Cauliflower Tikka Masala
- 1 large cauliflower head
- 1 onion cut into larger cubes
- 1 bell pepper diced into cubes
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup hung curd
- 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp chat masala
- 1/2 tsp black salt
- 1/2 tsp regular salt
- 1 tbsp mustard oil
- 3 tbsp roasted gram flour
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp kasuri methi powder
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 3 medium tomatoes
- 8 -10 cashews
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp kasuri methi
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
- 10 cashew nuts
Prepare Tikka Marinade
- In a large mixing bowl, add the ingredients mentioned above under marinade category.
- Whisk it all to a smooth paste.
- Clean and cut cauliflower into little larger chunks.
- Add cauliflower, bell peppers, onion chunks.
- Let it rest for 30 - 45 minutes minimum. (the more the better)
- After 30 - 45 minutes heat 4 -6 tbsp oil in a pan.
Prepare Cauliflower Tikka (Stovetop)
- Now take out coated veggies and shallow fry them in batches. make sure all sides are equally cooked.
- Once they turn golden brown remove from pan and keep aside. Cauliflower tikka is ready.
- You can also use a skewer to stalk the vegetables and roast them in on pan or in oven.
Cauliflower Tikka in Air-fryer
- Heat the air-fryer at 400F (200C).
- Grease the box with little oil or oil spray.
- Take out the cauliflower chunks and place them in the container.
- Start at 400F and set the timer to 10 minutes.
- Pause at 5 minutes and shake for uniform cooking.
- Start and cook till timer goes off or cauliflower pieces looks cooked.
- Shake at every 3 minutes interval until done.
- Once cauliflower is done, place the bell peppers, onion chunks and cook for 2 minutes at same temperature.
- If you are making cauliflower in batches, set the timer for 8 minutes (2 minutes lesser) on the 2nd batch.
Prepare Tikka Masala Gravy
- Soak 10 cashew nuts in hot water.
- after 30 minutes put it in a blender along with chopped tomatoes.
- Blend it to a smooth puree.
- Add 2 tbsp oil to the same pan.
- Add chopped onion and finely chopped ginger garlic and saute till translucent.
- Now add pureed tomato and cashews.
- Simmer till it's cooked well and starts leaving oil on sides.
- Now add all dry spices mentioned above (except kasuri methi).
- Mix it well and add little water or as required.
- Don't add much water as the gravy should be thicker in tikka masala.
- Add shallow fried veggies and left out marination mixture to the gravy.
- Cover with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Then add roasted and crushed kasuri methi and finely chopped coriander leaves.
- Simmer for another minute or two.
- Now turn off heat and cover for 5 minutes before serving.
How to make cauliflower tikka masala in restaurant-style?
I. Prepare cauliflower tikka
Clean and cut cauliflower into little larger chunks. Parboil them for 4 - 5 minutes. By this, it will be a little softer and will get cooked easily.
Now prepare the marination mixture(read above). Add parboiled cauliflower, bell peppers, onion chunks and marinate for 30 minutes minimum.
Shallow fried Cauliflower tikka
Then heat 2 - 3 tbsp oil in a pan. Shallow fry the coated veggies till they are golden and change color. Remove from pan once they are done. Fry in batches and don't overcrowd the pan. Keep aside.
Air - Fried Cauliflower Tikka
Heat the air-fryer at 400F (200C). Grease the box with little oil or oil spray.
Take out the cauliflower chunks and place them in the container. Start at 400F and set the timer to 10 minutes. Pause at 5 minutes and shake for uniform cooking.
Start and cook till the timer goes off or cauliflower pieces look cooked. Shake at every 3 minutes interval until done.
Once cauliflower is done, place the bell peppers, onion chunks and cook for 2 minutes at same temperature.
If you are making cauliflower in batches, set the timer for 8 minutes (2 minutes lesser) for the 2nd batch.
Note - All air-fryers don't cook equally. Also tender cauliflower may get cooked early. Keep checking at regular intervals.
II. Prepare the tikka masala sauce.
First, soak 10 - 12 cashew nuts in hot water for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes add them to a blender along with chopped tomatoes and green chilies (optional).
Heat oil in a pan. Add finely chopped onions or onion paste. saute for 2 minutes till it's translucent and starts releasing oil.
Add ginger-garlic paste and saute for a minute. Now add tomato & cashew nuts puree and saute till it's cooked well.
Add dry spices and left out marination mixture to the gravy (it will help in making a thick gravy and will be creamy).
Now add tikka veggies and simmer for 5 minutes by covering with a lid. Add kasuri methi and finely chopped coriander leaves. Give it a nice stir and cook for 2 minutes more.
Our yummy delicious cauliflower tikka masala or Indian gobi tikka masala is ready. I don't add additional cream to this but if you like it creamy add 2 - 3 tbsp fresh cream and give it a nice stir.
This rich creamy curry is best paired up with any breads and rice. Serve this with tandoori roti or lachha paratha or naan or even with steamed rice or jeera rice.
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Here I would request you to read other similar posts like mushroom matar masala, paneer tikka masala, gatte ki sabzi, palak paneer. Also read matar paneer curry, dum aloo, bagara baingan, lauki kofta curry, malai kofta curry, shaam savera curry.
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