Curried Cauliflower With Red Lentils




About: I've been posting Instructables since the site's inception, and now build other things at Autodesk. Follow me for food and more!

Spicy beans and veggies, featuring the ubiquitous roasted tomatoes. A great side dish or vegetarian main.

Step 1: Saute Onions and Hot Peppers

2 medium onions, chopped
hot peppers, chopped (type/amount to taste; I used Serranos)
canola oil to coat pan

Add all ingredients to a large pot and cook over medium-high heat until the onions begin to soften.

Step 2: Add Cauliflower and Seasonings

1 head cauliflower, chopped
ground black pepper
lots of garlic, chopped

Add the cauliflower, pepper, and garlic and stir around for a bit.

Step 3: Add Beans and Broth

2c split dry red lentils
3-4c broth (chicken, beef, veg- your pick)

Wash, drain, and add the red lentils. Stir them about to pick up all the oil and seasoning. This recipe uses red lentils because they cook quickly, much faster than split peas or many other options. They'll turn yellow upon cooking.

Just as they consider starting to stick, dump in the broth and stir. I used homemade chicken broth, but if you are without such wonderful things water and some boullion cubes will do.

One of these days I'll put up an instructable for making stock- it's dead easy if you've got a pressure cooker.

Step 4: Add Spices

Now add lots of good curry powder; a couple of tablespoons should do it. Add a bit of garam masala if you've got it as well. The taste will mellow and mingle during cooking, so you really are going to have to guess and go for a nice color instead of being able to taste-test.

Adjust the heat to medium and allow it to cook, stirring periodically to avoid sticking.

No worries- if you over-spice the dish you can serve it with yogurt to soften the spices.

Step 5: Add Roasted Tomatoes

After the mixture has started to cook down, chop and add a cup or two of roasted tomatoes.

They will add more flavor and less water than fresh tomatoes, and are able to stand up to the strong flavors of a curry quite well.

Continue to cook, stirring as needed, and adding additional liquid if necessary to avoid sticking.

Step 6: Final Seasoning

1 bunch cilantro, chopped coarsely
1t tamarind paste
salt and pepper to taste

When the mixture has begun to thicken up to a nice stew consistency and the lentils are soft, stir in a scoop of tamarind paste. When it's well-mixed, turn the heat off and add the cilantro, then salt and pepper to taste.

If you need more garlic now's a fine time to grate a clove or two in. Additional depth of acidic flavor can come from lemon or lime juice.

Serve warm, with yogurt on the side. An Afghani coworker gave this a thumbs-up, so it's at least somewhere near what her mother used to make.



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    14 Discussions


    9 years ago on Step 4

    would throwing in some potatoes mess up the recipe up?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Hey, I just want to say that this is really good I made the cauliflower lentils with goat. And my family loved it. Can't wait to try another one of your recipes.... Thanks


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I started making your recipe and then I realized I didn't have the tomatoes for it. I can tell you it definitely needs tomatoes. But I made a big enough pot of it that today I just added a can of tomatoes, being far to lazy to go through the process of making the roasted tomatoes... anyways, I turned it into a soup instead. Which I can say was delish. Thanks!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    This was very tasty and definitely on our 'make again' list. I used some curry paste as well as the spices you mentioned and, as I didn't have any roasted tomatoes, I substituted sun-dried. It worked out wonderfully!

    Lately, we purchased one of them tajine thingies, for the cooking of Middle Easterny sort of foods. I dunno what sort of arcane alchemic processes occur under that conical porcelain lid, but the results are mega- tasty. This recipe should work dandily in such a vessel.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I didn't have any cauliflower, so I used potatoes and mushrooms instead. It turned out pretty good. Yummy.


    11 years ago on Step 1

    Wouldn't gee (butter) be more appropriate than Canola oil?

    1 reply

    Reply 11 years ago on Step 1

    Definitely more authentic, but the lipid profile isn't as beneficial. I'm trying to tweak my diet where it doesn't matter- the taste difference between ghee and canola oil in this recipe is marginal, so I'll save ghee for things that I can taste the difference in, like paratha.


    12 years ago

    loos great, seems pretty authentic compared to recipies i use for curries. only one thing- your Afghani friend's mom probably never cooked a curry in her life. curries are Indian (and Pakistani), not Afghan. your friend liked it because it's not the usual western bland food ;-)

    1 reply

    Reply 12 years ago

    Well, she didn't call it a curry, and her mother uses individual spices including lots of fresh tumeric. I'm certainly taking a few creative liberties. Bland western food is unfortunate, and now unnecessary. ;)


    Reply 12 years ago

    Awesome! I'm glad you liked it.


    12 years ago

    Hmmm looks delicious! I should try it out some time!