Whole Roasted Tandoori Cauliflower

Tandoori cauliflower is typically found in dhaba’s all around North India and many dhaba’s or restaurants located on the highway roast the whole cauliflower smeared in a rich dark tandoori masala in a tandoor oven. Well, not all of us have a tandoor oven, do we? That’s where this recipe comes in. This dish has a spicy, tangy kick which works brilliantly with jeera rice, simple ghee rice or even butter roti! The very thought makes me salivate. 😀


You can use a store-bought tandoori powder but I would advice you to make it yourself. I had posted the recipe of my tandoori powder which I used for this cauliflower. (Click on the highlighted term for the recipe- Tandoori powder)
Once you roast the cauliflower you can slice it and serve it with a delicious mint, coriander and peanut chutney which brings a vibrancy to the dish. 🙂


Ingredients: (Serves 6 people)
  • Small whole cauliflower- 1
  • Coriander leaves- a small bunch; finely chopped 
  • Toasted peanuts- 10 grams; for garnish
  • Lime/ lemon wedges- for garnish
For Tandoori Paste:
  • Coriander leaves- 3/4 cup
  • Garlic- 6 to 7
  • Ginger- 1 cm piece
  • Onion- 1; medium
  • Tandoori powder– 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons; depending on your spice preference
  • Slightly thick tamarind puree- 1 1/2 tablespoons
  • Thick yogurt- 1 cup
  • Fresh red chilli- 1 or according to your spice tolerance 
  • Zest and juice of a small lime
  • Salt- to taste
For Green Peanut Chutney:
  • Coriander leaves; plucked- 1 cup
  • Mint leaves; plucked- 1 cup
  • Green chilli- 1
  • Onion- 1/2; medium
  • Peanuts- 4 tablespoons; (To remove the brown covering– Dry roast the peanuts over a low heat. Turn off the heat, rub the peanuts with you palm and the skins will come out easily.)
  • Olive oil- 2 tablespoons
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Thick yogurt- 4 tablespoons
  • Salt- to taste

Clean the whole cauliflower by removing the green leavy parts if any and trimming the base. Once trimmed, blanch the cauliflower in boiling, salted water for 7-8 minutes or until it starts to cook a bit but still quite firm. While blanching, keep turning the cauliflower. Remove from heat, drain and rinse with cold water. Shake off the excess water and place in a baking dish.


For Tandoori paste:

Add all the ingredients into a blender and blend until you get a dark brown, smooth paste. Pour over the cauliflower sitting in the baking tin. Massage the cauliflower with the paste, making sure you turn the cauliflower and even drench the back part and all the small openings. Let it marinate for 1 hour or more if possible. If you are in a hurry, let it sit for atleast 20 minutes otherwise the flavour will not seep into the cauliflower.


Preheat oven to 180° C. Cover the baking dish containing the cauliflower with an aluminium foil and seal tightly. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a knife goes through the cauliflower without any resistance. After the first 20 minutes, check the cauliflower and if it is browning too much, sprinkle a little water into the sides of the tin, cover with the same foil tightly and return. Keep checking every 10 minutes.

The cooking time will vary with the size of your cauliflower. If the size is very small, you have to keep a close eye as it may be done before 40 minutes. If the cauliflower is large, it might take more time. Once you think the cauliflower is tender, remove from the oven and allow to cool.


For Green peanut chutney:

Pulse the peanuts until fine in texture. Add the fresh herbs, chilli, onion, olive oil and blend until smooth. If the mixture is not forming a smooth paste, add a dash of water. Empty into a bowl, fold in the yogurt and lime juice. Season with salt and set aside. If you feel the chutney is too thick, add a tablespoon of water to loosen it. 


Use a spatula to remove the cauliflower from the baking dish and place on your serving platter. Scatter finely chopped coriander leaves and toasted peanuts on top. Slice it and serve with the chutney. 🙂



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