Let's just get something out in the open: I love curry. There are so many different variations of curry with all kinds of proteins and vegetables, the options are endless. So far I've shared my Japanese clam curry and beef curry pot pie. Today, I'm adding a third one to the list, a vegetarian cauliflower, and chickpea vadouvan curry. With a blend of spices, aromatics, and vegetables, this curry is anything but boring. Garnish the completed dish with fresh mint, cilantro, crispy shallots, and pickled chilies for an amazing meal.
Cauliflower and Chickpea Vadouvan Curry
- 2 fresno chilies thinly sliced
- ¼ cup boiling water
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup oil
- 4 shallots thinly sliced
Cauliflower and chickpea vadouvan curry
- ¼ cup oil
- 1 medium red onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger minced
- 1 tablespoon lemongrass minced
- 2 teaspoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon cardamom ground
- 2 teaspoon cumin ground
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds ground
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 cups cauliflower cut into florets
- 2 potatoes peeled, cut into medium chunks
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 14- ounce can coconut milk
- 1 cup chickpeas drained
- 1 bunch kale destemmed and torn into small pieces
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 ½ tablespoon honey
- salt and pepper
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped
- ¼ cup fresh mint chopped
- lime wedges for serving
- Make the pickled fresno. Combine thinly sliced fresno with ¼ cup boiling water, ¼ cup rice vinegar, ½ teaspoon sugar, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Let sit for 30 minutes.
- Prepare the crispy shallots. Combine the thinly sliced shallots and ½ cup oil in a medium saucepan. Cook the shallots over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until the shallots are golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Remove the shallots with a slotted spoon and drain the excess oil on paper towels. Set aside.
- Heat ¼ cup oil in a large saucepot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and saute until softened, about 5-6 minutes. Add 4 minced garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon minced ginger, and 1 tablespoon minced lemongrass and saute 1 more minute.
- Add 2 teaspoon tomato paste and the spices (curry powder - red pepper flakes) to the onion mixture, stirring to combine. Caramelize the paste, cooking for about 2 minutes. Add the potatoes, cauliflower, 2 cups vegetable broth, and 2 cups coconut milk. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
- Add 1 cup chickpeas, kale, 1 tablespoon fish, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 1 ½ tablespoon honey. Season the curry with salt and pepper.
- Serve the curry with rice and top with pickled fresno, crispy shallots, fresh mint, and fresh cilantro. Squeeze fresh lime juice and serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
What is vadouvan? Simply put it's an Indian spice blend. There are many different vadouvan recipes but they frequently include mustard seeds, onion, garlic, and cumin. I've decided to combine curry powder, cardamom, cumin, mustard seeds, turmeric, nutmeg, and red pepper flakes to create the flavors for this curry. Since onion and garlic are already included in the recipe I have omitted them in the spice blend.
Start making the cauliflower and chickpea vadouvan curry by sauteing the onions. Instead of sauteing I should really say simmering the onions. You want them to become softened but not burned, which is why we cook them in ¼ cup oil. Add the garlic, ginger, and lemongrass when the onions are ready, and cook for another minute. Lemongrass is not a typical ingredient in Indian curries but I love the acid it adds to the dish.
Add the spice blend as well as the tomato paste and cook until the paste is caramelized. Keep the flame on medium-low to prevent the spices from burning. Next, add the potatoes, cauliflower, vegetable broth, and coconut milk and bring everything to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. When you're cutting the potatoes, keep in mind that they are cooking at the same time as the cauliflower. Potatoes take longer than cauliflower so cut them into smaller chunks. This way they will be done at the same time.
Finish the curry with chickpeas and kale and season it with fish sauce, soy sauce, and honey. If you're not a fan of fish sauce, just omit it and add a little more soy sauce.
Top the cauliflower and chickpea vadouvan curry with pickled Fresno, crispy shallots, fresh mint, and fresh cilantro. Squeeze some fresh lime juice on top and serve with rice, naan, or both!
This curry is what I call a fancy curry. It has everything from a bountiful amount of vegetables to a beautiful blend of spices to all the toppings you could ever want. Is this the best vegetarian curry out there? Quite possibly.
For more cauliflower inspiration check out these crispy cauliflower steaks with lemon walnut sauce!