Cauliflower Korma is a mild curry dish featuring a velvety yogurt sauce with aromatic spices, tomatoes, and almond butter. A streamlined version of the North Indian classic, this vegetable korma is comfort food at its finest.
Why You'll Love this Cauliflower Korma
Traditional korma is a Mughlai dish involving meat, vegetables, or paneer braised in a gently-spiced sauce or gravy. While the techniques and ingredients vary, the sauce is typically thickened with cream, yogurt, and/or a mix of almonds.
In this streamlined version, we lean on almond butter to add richness and nutty undertones to the sauce. And to keep the ingredient list from getting too lengthy, a mix of garam masala and curry powder add quintessential spice.
Serve this vegetable korma over basmati rice, buttery roti, or naan bread for a comforting meal. I also love topping each serving with slivered almonds and cilantro for a pop of freshness and crunch.
Recipe Ingredients and Substitutions:
- Cauliflower: You need one medium head of cauliflower, which amounts to roughly 8 cups of florets. Even though cauliflower is a low calorie vegetable, it adds meaty texture and hearty appeal to this korma. Plus, what better way to slip in extra veggies than a luxurious curry sauce?
- Aromatics: A mix of yellow onion, garlic, and ginger create the aromatic foundation for this dish. To streamline prep, feel free to use the bottles or jars of minced ginger. While fresh ginger root will pack more of a punch, there's nothing wrong with leaning on a few convenience items!
- Spices: Curry powder, garam masala, and cayenne pepper add quintessential spice to the curry sauce.
- Curry Powder. Curry powder is a blend of lots of spices – usually turmeric, chili powder, ground coriander, cumin, peppercorn, and ginger. It's an efficient way to add a whole bunch of subtle, albeit important, flavors with maximum impact. I personally love madras curry powder, which packs a bit more heat.
- Garam Masala. Like curry powder, garam masala is a blend of spices, though with slightly stronger aromas. It usually includes cloves, cinnamon, mace, and nutmeg. It’s also an effective way to heighten the flavor of a dish without adding multiple spices.
- Tomatoes: Diced tomatoes and their juices play a role in flavoring and thickening the curry sauce. Alternatively, feel free to finely chop 2 to 3 plum tomatoes if you prefer fresh.
- Almond Butter: Try to choose a natural, single-ingredient almond butter where you’re only getting the nuts. I like Trader Joe's or Whole Foods 365 brand of almond butter.
- Coconut Milk: Canned coconut milk does double duty in this recipe. It starts as a marinade for the cauliflower and finishes by adding luxurious creaminess to the curry sauce.
- Yogurt: To amp up the creaminess (plus add a punch of protein), whole milk yogurt is an MVP ingredient.
Step 1: Marinate the Cauliflower
Start by placing the cauliflower in a large bowl. Add ⅓ cup coconut milk, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon curry powder, and ½ teaspoon garam masala, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Toss to fully coat florets, and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes.
Step 2: Broil the Cauliflower
Transfer cauliflower to a baking sheet lined with foil for easy cleanup. Turn broiler to HIGH, and place pan in the upper center rack of the oven. Broil cauliflower for 6 to 8 minutes, until the edges start to char.
Step 3: Sauté Aromatics and Spices
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high. Once hot, add onions; cook 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. Next, add garlic, ginger, curry powder, garam masala, and cayenne. Cook for 2 to 3 more minutes, stirring often, until aromatic.
Step 4: Add Remaining Sauce Ingredients and Simmer
Next, add tomatoes, broth, almond butter, remaining coconut milk, and salt; whisk well to combine. Bring mixture to a low boil and add cauliflower florets. Reduce heat and gently simmer until the sauces reduces and slightly thickens, about 15 minutes.
Step 6: Temper and Stir in Yogurt
Lastly, place yogurt in a medium bowl. Gradually add 3 to 4 Tbsp. of the curry sauce, stirring in between each, to temper yogurt and prevent it from breaking once it hits the hot sauce. Remove pan from heat and stir in yogurt mixture and cilantro. Garnish with slivered almonds, and serve korma hot over rice or quinoa.
What to Serve with Korma:
- Rice: A bed of fluffy basmati rice is the ultimate foundation for this aromatic curry dish. For a lower carb/higher protein option, serve over quinoa or chickpea rice.
- Naan or Roti: A piece of either of these Indian-style flatbreads will sop up all the delicious sauce.
- Miracle Noodle Shirataki Rice: This low carb rice substitute is made with konjac, a prebiotic fiber that's great for gut health.
How to Store, Reheat, and Freeze:
- To Store: Place leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
- To Reheat: Gently rewarm cauliflower korma in a skillet with a splash of water or broth over medium heat until warm. Alternatively, you can reheat individual portions in the microwave, stopping to stir every 30 to 45 seconds to promote even heating.
- To Freeze: Place leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container or zip-top bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
More Vegetable Curry Recipes to Try:
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- Baking sheet
- Large sauté pan
- 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets (about 8 cups)
- 1 cup canned coconut milk, divided
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 3 tsp. curry powder, divided (I use madras curry powder)
- 2 tsp. garam masala, divided
- 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
- 2 Tbsp. neutral cooking oil or ghee
- 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 ½ Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes
- 1 ¾ cups vegetable broth
- 3 Tbsp. natural creamy almond butter
- ¼ cup plain whole milk yogurt
- ¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves
- Slivered almonds for garnish (optional)
- Basmati rice, quinoa, or Banza chickpea rice for serving (the latter two are higher protein options)
- Place cauliflower in a large bowl. Add ⅓ cup coconut milk, lemon juice, 1 tsp. curry powder, ½ tsp. garam masala, and ¼ tsp. salt. Toss to fully coat florets, and let stand at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.Transfer cauliflower to a baking sheet lined with foil for easy cleanup. Turn broiler to HIGH, and place pan in the upper center rack of the oven. Broil cauliflower for 6 to 8 minutes, until the edges start to char.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high. Once hot, add onions; cook 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. Add garlic, ginger, remaining 2 tsp. curry powder, 1 ½ tsp. garam masala, and cayenne. Cook for 2 to 3 more minutes, stirring often, until aromatic. Add tomatoes, broth, almond butter, remaining coconut milk, and ¾ tsp. salt; whisk well to combine. Bring mixture to a low boil and add cauliflower florets. Reduce heat and gently simmer, uncovered, until the sauces reduces and starts to thicken, about 15 minutes.
- Place yogurt in a medium bowl. Gradually add 3 to 4 Tbsp. of the korma sauce, stirring in between each, to temper yogurt and prevent it from breaking once it's introduced to the hot sauce. Remove pan from heat and stir in yogurt mixture and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed (you may want more salt and extra spice from cayenne). Garnish with slivered almonds, and serve korma over rice or quinoa.