Not to be confused with cauliflower tikka masala which would be served in a thick, creamy Indian spiced sauce. (Now that I mention it, cauliflower tikka masala sounds good too. Note to self: make that.) I know the difference because every time I dine on Indian food with my mom, she can’t seem to remember if she gets the chicken tikka or the chicken tikka masala. (It’s the tikka masala.)
If you’re an Indian food enthusiast, you probably know that tikka dishes are usually cooked in tandoor ovens. This is not. I don’t have one of those and I’m guessing you don’t either. The traditional dish is also chicken and has yogurt in it, whereas my vegan cauliflower version does not, so let’s not get hung up on details. It’s delicious. Oh, and spicy. Chicken tikka isn’t traditionally a spicy dish, but I’m a spicy girl, so that’s how my cauliflower tikka turned out. Feel free to adjust that.
As far as how you want to eat this, that’s totally up to you. If you were to order the chicken version at a restaurant, it would obviously be the main course. Since this is cauliflower, you could totally eat it as a side dish, but I opted to go the main course route, serving it along side some rice and salad, and it was completely satisfying. Cauliflower is kind of amazing that way – vegetarians swap meat out with it, paleo eaters swap carbs out with it…basically there’s not a whole lot it can’t do. Cauliflower is out picking up my dry cleaning as I write this. Thanks cauliflower!
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1½ inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
- juice of 2 lemons (about ¼ cup)
- ¼ cup + 2 tbsp. unflavored soy or almond milk
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 tbsp. Asian chili paste (this will give you a very spicy version, so adjust to taste)
- 2 tsp. vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 1 tsp. garam masala
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 large head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
- Preheat oven to 450º.
- Coat a large baking dish with oil or cooking spray.
- Place cilantro, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, milk, cornstarch, chili paste, oil, spices and salt into food processor bowl. Process until blended.
- Place cauliflower florets into a large bowl or bag. Add cilantro mixture and toss to coat. Transfer to baking dish.
- Bake 20 minutes, until tender, turning the pieces once or twice during baking to ensure even browning.