cauliflower & potato curry with peas

6 to 8    |   
Prep Time:
15 minutes    |   
Cook Time:
45 minutes

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vegetable curry

Do you have cookbooks with faded old Post-It notes stuck to the pages? Markers for recipes you’ve loved so long you never want to forget where they came from? Such is the case with page 256 in my copy of Julie Sahni’s Classic Indian Cooking. The recipe is for cauliflower curry, which I first made 30 years ago when I was newly out of cooking school and sick of French food. I was craving spice and heat and knobby vegetables that hadn’t been “turned” to perfection (a culinary term for trimming root veggies into little footballs).

Through the years I’ve altered the curry to make it simpler and quicker, but one thing that hasn’t changed is how good it is for you. It’s full of things we didn’t call super-foods then, things that are almost trendy now: turmeric—inflammation fighter! cauliflower—brassica to the stars! coconut oil—doubles as a moisturizer!

Our understanding of food may move ahead, but the best recipes are forever. That’s why the Post-It note that marks this one is never going anywhere.


1 pound Yukon gold or red potatoes
1 head cauliflower
1 TBSP ground coriander + 2 tsp ground cumin + 1 tsp turmeric
(or use 2 tablespoons curry powder instead of spices)
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons grapeseed, canola, or coconut oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, halved and sliced
1-1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 large can (28-oz) crushed or pureed tomatoes
1 can coconut milk (preferably not light)
1 cup fresh or frozen peas

chopped peanuts and chopped fresh cilantro, optional
hot cooked rice or naan bread


Cut the potatoes, unpeeled, into 1-inch chunks. Core the cauliflower to remove the leaves then cut cauliflower stem and florets into 1-inch pieces. In a small ramekin, stir together ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, salt, and cayenne. Set vegetables and spice mixture aside.

Pour the oil into a 4- to 6-quart pot, such as a Dutch oven, and place pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrot and stir for a few minutes until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ginger and spice mixture and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in 1 cup of water and stir well; add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Stir in potatoes and cauliflower and let mixture return to the boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until vegetables are tender when pierced with a knife, about 35 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and peas and simmer mixture, uncovered, for 5 minutes. (Curry can be made ahead and left in pot for up to an hour; reheat to a simmer before serving. Or cool, cover and refrigerate up to 3 days. It will thicken as it stands.)

Ladle curry into bowls and garnish with peanuts and cilantro, if using. Serve with hot rice or naan.