By Nikita Gulhane of Spice Monkey

A spicy version of a classic, minus the cheese. Chick pea flour (gram flour or besan) is a great store cupboard item. You can use it to make batter for onion bhajis or sweeten it to stuff into breads. It is commonly cooked with yoghurt to make spicy creamy dishes but it also works for a vegan version.

Ingredients: (Serves 4-6)

  • 1 medium cauliflower
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3-6 hot green chilies roughly chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • Fresh ginger, same amount as garlic, julienned
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek
  • 1 medium tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 3 tablespoons chick pea flour
  • Fresh coriander, small handful of roughly chopped leaves and stems
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Retain the cauliflower’s outer leaves and chop the stems in to bite size pieces. Keep some of the fine inner leaves whole for garnish.
  2. Cross cut the base of the cauliflower head 2 inches both ways. Cook in a steamer until al dente. Remove and cool, Cut into 8 pieces. Steam the thick stems until al dente. Retain the cooking water.
  3. Heat the oil and mustard seeds in a wok or small pot. When the seeds start to pop reduce the heat to a low medium and spoon in the cumin seeds. Stir once or twice to season the oil and then add the chilies. Sauté briefly to blister the skins in the hot oil.
  4. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for half a minute.
  5. Add half the coriander and continue to stir and fry.
  6. Mix in the onions and half the salt. Cook covered, stirring occasionally, until translucent.
  7. Spoon in the turmeric powder and mix. Then the fenugreek leaves. Mix well and add the tomatoes.
  8. Cook until soft and then stir in the chick pea flour and coriander powder. Mix well. The ingredients will start to dry up into a crumbly sticky paste. Continue to stir and fry for 1 minute.
  9. Whisk in the cauliflower water bit by bit until you have a sauce the texture of single cream.
  10. Cook on a low heat stirring occasionally for 10 minutes reducing to a custard-like thickness. Season with salt.
  11. Arrange the cauliflower stems in an oven proof bowl. Place the cauliflower pieces on top and the fine inner leaves on them. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower and place under a grill. Cook until hot through. Garnish with the remaining coriander and serve.

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