This Cauliflower Curry is a mild, creamy, and delicious curry that is sure to be a family favorite! A vegan curry that will pair well with any other type of curry, and can be enjoyed with rice or flat breads.
This coconut cauliflower curry is super simple and delicious! Minimal spices, but with maximum flavor.
This type of Sri Lankan curry is called a “sudata curry” (in Sinhalese) or white curry (direct translation). That’s because this type of curry is not spicy, and has minimal spices. The coconut milk with turmeric gives the curry a pastel yellow color. While the curry can be made fairly similarly with different types of vegetables, the flavor obviously can vary depending on the veggie you use. You can also add a small amount of spices to change up the flavor.
Why I love this recipe
- Super simple to make. A flavorful curry doesn’t get much simpler than this.
- I use all the parts of the cauliflower, so there’s no wastage either.
- Very versatile. You could add carrots or potatoes to this same curry, if you’d like to.
- Very mild in spice level, but still so delicious! Perfect for kids or for anyone who hasn’t had curries before, or has low tolerance for spicy food. It’s a “gateway” curry, if you will.
- The creaminess and flavor from the coconut milk, and tempered spices, make this the BEST cauliflower curry that EVERYONE in your family can enjoy!
What is a white curry?
A Sri Lankan white curry is typically a curry made with coconut milk and only a few spices. Due to the added turmeric, the curry can be yellow in color. The most popular “white curry” in Sri Lanka is the coconut potato curry OR a simple coconut gravy. But you can also prepare most vegetables the same way. My favorite is a “sudata” coconut sweet potato curry!
Parents usually make these “white curries” for little kids, the sick, or the elderly, as there is no spice, and they are easier on the digestive system. But it’s also a very popular side dish to be eaten with rice, string hoppers, pittu, and other main dishes in Sri Lankan cuisine. It’s the perfect, creamy, lightly spiced, and slightly sweet curry that will please ANYONE.
So if you have someone in your family that isn’t too tolerant of spices, I highly recommend starting with a “white curry” such as this delicious cauliflower curry!
How to make this creamy Sri Lankan cauliflower curry
- Coconut milk or cream (unsweetened). You can also use lite coconut milk, but it’ll taste better with regular coconut milk.
- Mustards seeds
- Ground coriander
- Garlic and/or ginger
- Green chili (optional)
- Curry leaves
- Rampe (optional)
Step by step instructions
This creamy Sri Lankan cauliflower curry is very easy to make, and you won’t be throwing away ANY part of the cauliflower either.
The first step is to prepare all the ingredients.
Cut the stem off of the cauliflower, but do not discard it. Also remove the leaves around the cauliflower (IF you got one with leaves), and set aside.
Cut the head of the cauliflower into florets. The florets should be bite-sized and also evenly-sized if possible. Rinse and drain, and set aside.
Take the stem of the cauliflower and trim the bottom if it’s dried out. If the stem is very tough, use a peeler or knife to remove the outer skin of the cauliflower stem. Cut the stem into 1 inch pieces, and then slice these pieces. They don’t have to be too thin, but shouldn’t be too thick either. Take the leaves of the cauliflower and cut them into long strips. Wash these separately and set aside.
Prepare the rest of the spices next. Slice or dice the onions. Slice the garlic and/or ginger as well. Finally, measure out the other spices as well and keep them all together, along with the coconut milk.
The next step is to temper the spices.
Tempering spices is also known as tadka in Indian cooking. Frying and adding spices such as chili and mustard seeds are done at the end of cooking curries. But for this curry, I’m doing this at the beginning, for convenience and to reduce washing steps. The tempered spices add so much flavor and depth to the coconut cauliflower curry.
Heat some oil (coconut oil or a neutral tasting oil) in a pot, over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds. Stir the mustard seeds around until you start to hear them pop. Add the curry leaves and stir fry for just a few seconds. Add the onions, garlic, chili, rampe, and other spices, and saute until the onions soften.
Cooking the cauliflower.
Add the cauliflower florets and the cut up stem into the pot. Mix until the cauliflower is coated in the spice mix, and then add a little salt as well. Saute the cauliflower for about 5 – 10 minutes until the cauliflower is just starting to soften. Add the cauliflower greens, and then the coconut milk (and water, if using).
Bring the coconut milk to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes. Or a minimum of 10 minutes, until the cauliflower is soft. I like to uncover the pot and let the creamy cauliflower curry simmer, so that the gravy has a chance to concentrate and thicken, making it even more creamy and flavorful. But if you’d like more gravy, you can close the lid and let it simmer as well. If you need to, add a little more water to get the desired consistency.
Season to your taste, and serve warm.
Serving suggestions for this creamy cauliflower curry
This cauliflower curry is so creamy, with a little smokiness from the tempered spices. Expect to enjoy a lovely mild curry that has bold coconut and cauliflower flavor, and will be loved by everyone!
You can serve this curry with some steamed rice and other side dishes.
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can also pair it these other Sri Lankan curries,
- Mango curry
- Mushroom curry
- Apple curry
- Creamy cashew curry
- Beetroot curry
- Or another “white curry” such as this Sri Lankan carrot curry.
If you’re not vegetarian or vegan, then you can add these curries to your meal too,
Sri Lankan Creamy Cauliflower Curry (Mild Curry)
- 1 lb cauliflower florets + stem 455 g. Whole cauliflower, just over 1 lb / 455 g
- 1 tbsp coconut oil or vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp mustard seeds brown
- ½ medium onion
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped or sliced
- ½ inch ginger finely chopped or sliced
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 large green chili or 3 small green chili add more or less, depending on your level of spice tolerance and the chili that you have available
- 1 pandan leaf about 4 – 6 inches
- 6 – 8 curry leaves
- 1½ cups coconut milk about 1 can
- ½ tsp sea salt
- Salt to taste
- Cut the cauliflower into florets. Slice the remaining cauliflower stalk into 1 – 2 inch length pieces. Wash and set aside.1 lb cauliflower florets + stem
- If your cauliflower head has leaves (that are free of blemishes), you can cut these leaves into larger pieces and wash and set aside these too.
- Finely chop or slice the onions. Set aside.½ medium onion
- Thinly chop or slice the garlic and ginger as well.2 cloves garlic, ½ inch ginger
- In a medium pot that is dry, place the oil, and heat over medium or medium high heat. Make sure the heat does not burn the food at any point.1 tbsp coconut oil or vegetable oil
- When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds. Saute for a bit to coat the seeds with oil and to prevent them from burning.1 tbsp mustard seeds
- When the mustard seeds start to pop, add the onions, garlic, ginger, curry leaves, pandan leaves, and green chili, and saute until the onions soften.½ medium onion, ½ inch ginger, 1 large green chili or 3 small green chili, 1 pandan leaf, 6 – 8 curry leaves, 2 cloves garlic
- Add the spices, and saute for a few seconds.½ tsp turmeric, 1 tsp ground coriander
- Add the cauliflower, stems, and salt, and mix well with the rest of the spices. Saute the cauliflower for about 10 minutes until it starts to soften. Lower the heat if needed, to make sure the cauliflower doesn’t burn.1 lb cauliflower florets + stem, ½ tsp sea salt
- Add the cauliflower greens (if using), along with the coconut milk. Stir to mix. If needed, you can increase the heat at this point (if you previously reduced the heat).1½ cups coconut milk
- Bring the coconut milk to a boil, and then immediately lower the heat to a simmer. Let the cauliflower simmer for 10 – 15 minutes until the cauliflower has completely softened. Occasionally stir to prevent the cauliflower from catching at the bottom of the pan and burning.
- Keep the lid ajar, if you don’t want the liquid to evaporate too much. OR simmer without the lid, if you want the gravy to thicken as it evaporates. You can also add a little more water as needed to get the desired consistency for your cauliflower curry.
- Taste and season the curry to your liking, towards the end of the cook time.Salt to taste
“This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.”