There was one good thing to come from my disastrous waitressing career during my university days.
Actually make that two things.
First, I gained a deep respect for anyone who provides excellent service in a restaurant.
Second, I fell in love with Indian cuisine. Especially the food from the tandoori oven.
And while the most famous tandoori dishes like tandoori chicken centre around animal protein, I recently had the most delicious tandoori carrots at a local restaurant.
Which got me thinking of the possibilities of tandoori flavours and vegetables.
I’ve added some chicken here to make it a more substantial meal, but the cauli really is the star of the show.
Slightly charred, smoky and fragrant with spice.
I could eat this all day.
- 1/2 head cauliflower (approx 500g / 1lb)
- 4 chicken thigh fillets
- 1 tablespoon tandoori spice or 2 teaspoons each smoked paprika + curry powder
- large handful roast cashews (50g / 2oz)
- 1/2 cup Greek yoghurt
- bunch coriander leaves picked
- Turn your oven to 250C (480F). Chop cauliflower into bite sized little trees and place in a large roasting tray. Slice each chicken thigh into 4 strips and add to the tray.
- Combine spices and 4 tablespoons olive oil in a small bowl with a very generous pinch of salt. Drizzle spiced oil over the cauli and chicken and toss well until the oil has coated everything. I find clean fingers the best tool for this job.
- Pop the uncovered tray in the oven. Set your timer for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, check the cauliflower and chicken. If the cauliflower and chicken are cooked through and well browned, remove from the oven. If they’re not quite done, stir and cook for another 5 minutes or so. If in doubt give them more time.
- When the cauliflower is well browned and the chicken is no longer pink in the middle, divide chicken + cauli between two plates. Top with coriander leaves, cashews and the yoghurt.
Tandoori Cauliflower Variations & Substitutions
different spice – you could just use 2-3 teaspoons curry powder or make your own tandoori blend with equal parts smoked paprika, coriander and cumin. Spice pastes can also be used, depending on the strength you will need 2-3 tablespoons tandoori paste.
Keto / ultra low carb – use macadamias instead of cashews. Halve the cauli and serve with baby spinach leaves instead.
vegetarian – replace chicken with cooked chickpeas. Or serve with poached or fried eggs, crumbled feta, diced paneer (Indian cheese), pan fried halloumi or a big bowl of dahl or lentils. Or just serve with extra cashews.
more substantial (carb lovers) – steamed rice or naan bread.
more substantial (low carb) – extra nuts, extra chicken or chunks of avocado. Use mayonnaise instead of yoghurt (or both!), cauliflower ‘rice’.
Low FODMAP – use low FODMAP veg instead of the cauli. Such as carrots, kohlrabi or celeriac.
family-friendly – use 2 teaspoons smoked paprika and 2 teaspoon cumin.
different vegetables – carrots, kohlrabi or celeriac, eggplant, mushrooms (yum tandoori mushrooms!), zucchini (courgettes), capsicum (bell peppers) sweet potato, pumpkin, thinly sliced onion, parsnips.
different herbs – use flat leaf parsley, mint, basil or baby spinach leaves instead of the coriander.
different protein – chicken breast fillets, diced lamb, white fish, salmon, sausages, chickpeas, poached or fried eggs (added when serving), dahl or cooked lentils (to serve).
more fancy / for entertaining – slice an onion in half lengthwise and then into thin 1/2 moons. Toss them with the cauliflower and spiced oil for extra depth of flavour. Serve with chilli oil for everyone to add spice to taste. Serve with another curry like Lesh’s Dahl, Butter Chickpeas, Lamb Saag or Easy Fish Curry.
Waste Avoidance Strategy
cauliflower – will keep for weeks in a plastic bag in the fridge. Can be frozen but the texture isn’t as good when defrosted.
chicken thigh fillets – freeze them.
roast cashews / tandoori spice (or smoked paprika + curry powder) – keep them in the pantry.
yoghurt – usually has a shelf life of a month or so. Otherwise, have it for another meal like breakfast! Don’t freeze.
coriander – best to use for another meal. Can be frozen but will wilt when defrosted.
Yes! Just cook as per the recipe but keep the, yoghurt, coriander + cashews separately. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to a week or can be frozen. To serve, warm spiced chicken and cauli in a pan with a little oil then serve with remaining ingredients. If the weather is warm it’s also excellent chilled.
More Recipes Similar to Tandoori Cauliflower
- Smoky Cauliflower Taco Bowls
- Indian Spiced Salmon with Minty Yoghurt
- Roast Cauli with Meatballs & Tahini Sauce
- Spiced Roast Chicken & Cauliflower Salad with Tahini Maple Dressing
- Indian Spiced Omelette
- Spiced Cabbage & Feta
- The Best Simple Cauliflower Substitutes
Have fun in the kitchen!