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Northern India Cooking Class: Lesson 2: Cauliflower (Phool Gobi)

Posted by Peggy on November 2, 2011

Northern India Cooking Class; Lesson 2: Cauliflower (Phool Gobi)
Recipe: Northern India Cooking Class; Lesson 2: Cauliflower (Phool Gobi)


  • 2 medium-sized white cauliflower heads, with green leaves intact
  • 2-6 green Thai chilis*
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped ginger
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons garam (gurum) masala (gurum means hot but doesn’t mean its temperature or chili hot - it means it warms you.)
  • 1-2 heaping teaspoons turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Indian red chili pepper
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro


  1. Remove florets from cauliflower and cut into bite-sized pieces. Remove rib from leaves and cut into ribbons. Place cauliflower and leaves in a large pot of water.
  2. Wearing plastic gloves and with a sharp knife, chop chilis and discard stem (remove seeds if you prefer less spicy food).
  3. In a large pan with a 2-inch lip or wok, heat oil to high heat. Add ajwain, chilis and ginger. (Avert face or use a splatter guard.) Once it begins to sputter, add cauliflower, allowing some of the water the cauliflower was soaking in into the sauté pan. Stir in the garam masala, 1 teaspoon of the turmeric, chili pepper; add kosher salt to taste. Add additional turmeric until the cauliflower is a deep yellow color, if necessary.Reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered, 20 to 30 minutes, occasionally stirring, or until cauliflower is tender but not falling apart. Sprinkle with cilantro prior to serving.

*2 peppers will add mild heat, each pepper adding incremental levels of heat. We used 5 chili peppers, which was too spicy for some, but perfect for me. The dish was hot but not “Indian hot”. Achla would have preferred adding more.

Make ahead tips: Can be cooked up to 48 hours in advance to serving. If making in advance, cook cauliflower just until medium firm. Then, when ready to serve, heat until tender.

Number of servings (yield): 1 of 7 recipes comprising an Indian Feast to serve 16.

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