Chetna Makan's Cauliflower Butter Masala

April 25, 2021
4 Ratings
Photo by Food52
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Butter chicken is a very popular curry, and not just in India—you'll find many variations of this beloved dish on Indian menus around the world. You'll rarely find cauliflower in the starring role, though it really comes to life in this creamy, buttery recipe inspired by the classic. Roasting the cauliflower thoroughly tenderizes it, adding sweetness and complexity. After roasting, it's ready to absorb all the flavors from the curry.

Enjoy it hot, and serve with naan or steamed rice.

Hear more from Resident Chetna Makhan on our new podcast, Either Side Eaters, where cross-Atlantic friends Katie Quinn and Jen Phanomrat compare notes with their guests on everything from scone etiquette to charcuterie trends.Chetna Makan

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Chetna Makan's Cauliflower Butter Masala
  • Curry
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, divided
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Cauliflower
  • 1 large cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  1. Heat the oil and 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat, then add the cinnamon, bay leaves, cardamom, and cumin. Let sizzle for a few seconds, then add the onions and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions turn golden brown.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute. Next, add the tomatoes, salt, and 1 cup of water. Cover and cook on low heat for 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, heat the oven to 400°F. Place the cauliflower florets on a baking sheet with the salt, ground spices, and sunflower oil, and mix well to coat. Roast for 20 minutes, until they start to turn golden brown at the tips.
  4. Add the turmeric, garam masala, coriander, fenugreek, honey, and 1 cup of water to the simmering tomato mixture and stir well.
  5. Add the roasted cauliflower, stir again to coat, then cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes, until the cauliflower is cooked through.
  6. Add in the heavy cream and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, stir well to combine, and serve with naan or steamed rice.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Francesca Belanger
    Francesca Belanger
  • Janelle Albrecht
    Janelle Albrecht
  • Jim Brown
    Jim Brown
  • Tina Read
    Tina Read

21 Reviews

tavarezsc July 6, 2022
Absolutely delicious. I made it exactly as written with all the ingredients and it was absolutely fantastic and full of flavor. I love it with rice because the sauce is on the thinner side and the rice soaks it up beautifully. I have made this a few times and have added a large spoonful of tomato sauce towards the end before when I was in the mood for a richer slightly thicker sauce. Enjoy!
Sue July 19, 2021
This has way too much fat in it - made my whole family sick. The flavor profile was just amazing but even with rice we were left feeling ill - no one needs that much fat and oil in a dish - I will try it again and leave out most of the butter - and - yes I do know it’s called butter Masala but seriously - way way too much - even as a treat. We try to eat healthy and eat meat sparingly so maybe we are too sensitive - I don’t know. I grew up eating Indian food from the age of 6 - I am now 60 - I don’t ever remember any food swimming in butter and oil. I am from the UK the same as Chetna - this is her “take “ on it - not very good I have to say and I love her. We have authentic Indian food here and it is very healthy
Marty July 19, 2021
I sort of have to agree - I love Indian food - maybe we made it wrong but it really is not authentic and has way too much fat even for butter chicken / veg - whatever!
Sue July 19, 2021
I was so excited for this as I grew up on Indian food. I bought the Kasuri Methi to make it completely authentic. PLEASE be careful - I ended up in the emergency room with a dreadful allergy to that ingredient - if you look up the side effects there are many and I had them all. I am sure it tastes great without!
Sarah C. June 7, 2021
This was so good. My first attempt at a any Indian food outside naan and it was a really hit. Served with cubed rotisserie chicken over rice. Cannot wait to have it again.
Marty July 19, 2021
Did you use the Fenugreek?
Sarah C. July 19, 2021
Yes. 8 have to be honest that I don’t know how the flavor contributes as I have not cooked with it before - I just know the whole dish is really good. Just made it again over the weekend.
Marty July 19, 2021
I haven’t been able to get it but it was pretty good without it but a little too much butter I guess - maybe I did something wrong 😍
Sarah C. July 19, 2021
I haven't experienced the too much butter part. Maybe start by halving it? It is just a half a stick for a meal that had about 8 servings for us but I also added chicken to it so maybe that bulked up the recipe enough that it wasn't too rich.

I got the fenugreek at a local Indian grocer. Looks like you can find it online depending where you are located.
Marty July 19, 2021
Maybe I didn’t have enough Cauliflower and I didn’t add chicken or anything but did have lots of rice - I actually used less than recommended - 3 sticks all told - with less oil because I use non stick Greenspan’s that don’ need oil - I will try again as everyone else seems to love it - thank you!
Sarah C. July 19, 2021
It should only be 4 tablespoons of butter (half a stick in the USA). I use a good size cauliflower and add the meat because my son and husband prefer it. Try again and let us know how it goes!
Marty July 19, 2021
So sorry - I meant 3 Tablespoons not 3 sticks !!!! It was just a little over a 1/4 of a stick . I will definitely try again
Francesca B. May 8, 2021
Wow, Chetna, two for two! (I recently made your potato chickpea chaat, which was also delicious.)
I made the Cauliflower Butter Masala exactly per the recipe, except I substituted cayenne for the chilli, because it was what I had. The flavors were wonderful and subtle. My husband and I loved it, and are looking forward to leftovers. Thank you.
Marty July 19, 2021
Did you make it exactly as the recipe and did you use the Feugreek Leaves?
Marty July 19, 2021
Francesca B. July 20, 2021
Yes, I made it exactly as written except I used a rounded quarter-teaspoon of chilli powder instead of a half, but I’m trying to work up to more heat in my Indian cooking. I did use the fenugreek leaves, which I purchased online. An Indian friend told me to crumble them up before adding. I would describe their aroma and flavor as maple syrup (without the sweetness) combined with herbal/green. I liked the flavor they imparted. It’s a good thing I liked the fragrance, too, because it lingered on my hands through the next day.
Janelle A. April 26, 2021
This sounds really great! Unfortunately it can't be saved to pinterest, although there is a pin button to do so. Pinterest keeps telling me that this website doesn't allow pins.
Jim B. April 23, 2021
Great flavor! Next time I'll start by roasting the cauliflower. Doing that as step 3 and waiting for the oven to heat up and the cauliflower to roast, I had to stop everything for 10+ minutes before moving on to step 4. But either way, the result is delicious.
Tina R. April 22, 2021
Absolutely delish can't wait to make AGAIN
Louise April 19, 2021
Watched the video.
Made it.
Loved it!
Recommend it 🙌🏻
ashleychugh April 17, 2021
WOW!! First time making Indian food in an Indian household and this was a HIT. So easy to follow and SOOO delicious. I recommend this to anyone! Doesn't require lots of skill, love it. Definitely adding this to the rotation. Can't wait to try other Chetna recipes.