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

cauliflower and chickpea vadouvan curry


Serves 4


Cauliflower and Chickpea Vadouvan Curry

1 hrTotal Time

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    Pickled fresno
  • 2 fresno chilies, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Crispy shallots
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 4 shallots, thinly sliced
  • Cauliflower and chickpea vadouvan curry
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1 tbsp lemongrass, minced
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom, ground
  • 2 tsp cumin, ground
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, ground
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp 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 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • lime wedges for serving


  1. Make the pickled fresno. Combine thinly sliced fresno with 1/4 cup boiling water, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 1/2 tsp sugar, and 1/4 tsp salt. Stir until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  2. Prepare the crispy shallots. Combine the thinly sliced shallots and 1/2 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.
  3. Heat 1/4 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 tbsp minced ginger, and 1 tbsp minced lemongrass and saute 1 more minute.
  4. Add 2 tsp 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 to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  5. Add 1 cup chickpeas, kale, 1 tbsp fish, 1 tbsp soy sauce, and 1 1/2 tbsp honey. Season the curry with salt and pepper.
  6. 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 1/4 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.

sauteed aromatics

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.

finished curry

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.

cauliflower and chickpea vadouvan curry

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.

cauliflower and chickpea vadouvan curry


Looking for someone to come to your house and prepare these dishes for you? It is possible! If you are in Los Angeles and looking for a private chef, please feel free to contact me. For more information, visit Private Kitchen Los Angeles.


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