Spiced Cauliflower in a Dry Tomato Sauce ~ Gobi Sabzi

October 10, 2011

This delicious cauliflower dish is based on a famous Indian recipe which my dad reinterpreted.  My dad likes to call this dish “Aloo Gobi without the Aloo.”  That literally means potato-cauliflower without the potato.  I’m not quite sure why he ended up removing the potato from an otherwise iconic Indian dish, but I sure am glad that he did so.  The delicious flavor of the cauliflower really stands out with the deliciously tomato base it is cooked in.  The Lion and I are trying to eat a healthier diet and incorporate more vegetables into our daily diets.  This deliciously simple Indian dish is perfect for that!

Making the Cauliflower

The recipe is an incredibly simple dish and packs a punch in terms of Indian flavor.  It highlights some of the basic techniques of Indian cuisine.  It is made with ingredients easily available at almost any grocery store.  As you cook more and more Indian dishes, you’ll quickly realize how easy the steps are in most of the recipes.  I think the most important part of Indian cuisine is the mise en place-or having everything prepared before the cooking begins.  When cooking Indian food, each subsequent step happens quickly much like a stir fry.  If you keep everything ready, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and anxiety and the dish will come together in a snap.  If you’d like to add more Indian food to your repertoire, try this dish!  It is a delicious way to eat cauliflower!

Spiced Cauliflower and Tomato

Spiced Cauliflower in a Dry Tomato Sauce ~ Gobi Sabzi

From at

Prep: Cook: Yield: serves 4 as a side, 2 as a mainTotal:

My family's version of the famous aloo gobi dish, just without the aloo! Deliciously complex with garam masala, cinnamon, cloves, and bay leaves.

You'll Need...

  • 1 medium sized head of cauliflower, cut into medium-large florets
  • 4 plum tomatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 heaping tsp. crushed serrano chilis
  • 1 heaping tsp. crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp. grated ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Cilantro, for garnish


  1. Heat 1 Tbsp. of oil in a large saucepan or a wok over medium heat.  Add the bay leaf, cinnamon, and cloves and heat until aromatic.  Swirl the oil while the spices are heating in order to ensure that the oil picks up all of the flavors of the spices and so that they don't burn.
  2. Once the spices are aromatic, add the tomatoes to the pan and stir to coat well with the oil.  Add the serrano chilis, garlic, ginger, salt, and turmeric to the pan and stir well.  Cook the tomatoes with the pan covered, uncovering occasionally to stir, until they breakdown.  (look at the picture above to see the proper consistency of the tomatoes)
  3. Once the tomatoes have broken down, add the cauliflower to the pan.  Stir well, allowing the cauliflower to be coated with the tomato.  I refer to this as a "dry tomato sauce" because there is just enough tomato to completely coat the cauliflower and fully flavor it.  Once the cauliflower is well coated, cover the pan, lower the heat, and let the cauliflower cook.  Every few minutes, uncover the pan and give the cauliflower a stir.  Cook until the cauliflower is fully cooked, a fork should be able to pierce the cauliflower easily.  Remove from the heat, and let sit, covered for 5-10 minutes.  Garnish with cilantro and serve.  Enjoy!

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  • Reply gangybuffet.com October 10, 2011 at 4:26 am

    Hey! I love your website! If you are interested in ideas, my website is vegan, and vegetarian gourmet food! http://gangybuffet.com/
    I am a college student journaling my way through cooking.

  • Reply notyet100 October 10, 2011 at 11:46 am

    This one is new for me,,looks yum,,,

  • Reply Amit October 10, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    love the way you celebrate and describe the ingredients and the process!

  • Reply ANna October 10, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Unique combination…I am gonna try this dish too. I must say this is a different twist in Indian cuisine that I am familiar with. Thanks for sharing this great recipe.

  • Reply Suresh October 10, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    We removed not only the potatoes but also the onions for no particular reason. The tomato sauce and cauliflower alone seemed like a great combination. A thoroughly delectable dish that goes well with parathas, roti, or rice. I love your passion for cooking! Keep it up.

  • Reply kankana October 10, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Nicely done! Simple and quick. Allu Gobi is my fav too and now to have to try this with the allu 🙂

  • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com October 10, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    @gangybuffet: Thanks! I'll definitely take a peek at your site.

    @notyet100: Thanks! It's a super delicious way to make cauliflower!

    @Amit: Thanks so much! I love the process, and I'm glad you feel like I was able to capture that.

    @Anna: Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

    @Dad: I love the way we make it! I wouldn't change a thing. I think I'll finally be able to stop calling it "aloo gobi without the gobi" now, too!

    @Kankana: Thanks! I'm sure it'll be super tasty with the aloo!

  • Reply Damayanti October 11, 2011 at 1:53 am

    hello mamu it was very delicious. Now you will send us the food. i love it!

  • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com October 11, 2011 at 3:07 am

    @Mom: I know! It's a nice change of pace from the usual. I get to feed you guys now 🙂

  • Reply Jillena October 17, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Fantastic website! Looking forward to your posts! Can't wait to try the cauliflower. Looks amazing!

  • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com October 19, 2011 at 3:06 am

    @ Jillena: Thanks so much! I hope you enjoy it 🙂

  • Reply Debra Daniels-Zeller October 20, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    I am so happy I found this recipe! It's the end of the season for cauliflower here, so we can find a few bargains before the local stuff disappears until next year. I just love your flavor combinations!

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