Masala Cauliflower (Instant Pot and Stovetop)


masala gobi

We’re smothering cauliflower in masala! This masala gobi is made with cauliflower (of course), caramelized onions, ripe tomatoes, garlic, ginger, and spices. You can make this dish in an instant pot or on the stovetop.

I realize that it’s a bit uncommon to be sharing an Indian recipe where cauliflower is flying solo. It’s usually served with its partner in crime (Aloo alias, Potato). But sometimes you don’t want the heaviness that comes with potatoes. Choosing to make masala gobi will have you feeling like you’re making good decisions in life. It’s light, yet filling and so flavorful that you won’t feel like you’re missing anything.

masala gobi

It’s the spices in the masala that really make this dish. Cauliflower is the main ingredient, but we all know cauli is just a vehicle for flavor, right? I mean cauliflower on its own sort of tastes like nothing. That’s why it needs masala.

Please know that I say this with nothing but love for cauliflower. ❤️ I think cauliflower is wonderful, magical even… at soaking up other flavors.

And the flavors in this masala? Oh my, where do I start. First, we’re going to infuse some oil with cumin seeds and fennel seeds, the latter adding a slightly sweet, licorice-like taste to the masala. Then we’re adding garam masala, turmeric, paprika, and a good amount of coriander, which will help brighten up the masala with its lemony flavor.

masala gobi

Now, there is one ingredient listed below that may be tricky to find: kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves). You can find dried fenugreek leaves at any Indian grocery store or on amazon. Kasoori or Kasuri methi leaves are known to have a slightly bitter taste, but when you use them in small amounts it can help enhance the flavor of your dish. I think this ingredient really adds something special to the dish – makes it more “restaurant-like.”

Masala gobi makes for a great side to any meal. Whenever I make this dish, my husband will without fail, tell me that he enjoyed the cauliflower more than anything else on his plate. I never really know how to take his “compliment,” but I know he means well, so I usually let it slide. 😂

If you’re looking for a meal idea, serve this masala gobi with any type of dal and a side of plain basmati rice or jeera rice.

masala gobi

Masala Cauliflower (Masala Gobi)

masala gobi

Masala Cauliflower (Masala Gobi)

4.87 from 15 reviews
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Cuisine Indian


  • 1 medium or large cauliflower cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons oil of choice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 onion diced
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 serrano pepper or green chili minced
  • 2 ripe Roma tomatoes chopped



Instant Pot Directions:

  • Press sauté, add oil and once it heats up, add cumin and fennel seeds. When the seeds begin to splutter, add the onion and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until they start to brown.
  • Add garlic, ginger, and green chili and sauté for a minute, then add the chopped tomatoes and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, or until they soften. 
  • Add the water and cauliflower and mix well. Pour the spices on top of the cauliflower (don’t mix - this prevents spices from burning).
  • Secure the lid, close the valve and cook for “0” minutes  (the cauliflower will cook in the amount of time it takes to reach pressure).
  • Quick-release pressure.
  • Garnish with cilantro and enjoy!

Stovetop Directions:

  • In a pan, heat oil and add cumin and fennel seeds. Once the seeds begin to splutter, add the onions.
  • When the onions turn golden, add ginger, garlic, and serrano/green chili, stir, then add the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes become soft.
  • Add the spices, stir, then add the cauliflower florets and water and mix well.
  • Cover the pot with a lid and cook on medium heat for about 10-12 minutes, or until the cauliflower reaches your desired level of tenderness.
  • Garnish with cilantro and enjoy!
Did you make this recipe?Tag @myheartbeets on Instagram and hashtag it #myheartbeets!

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masala gobi

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Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

About Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.


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  1. Kadir says

    Any suggestions for how to do this with your pre-made tomato onion masala? I assume it’s possible, but not sure what the quantity should be. Thanks!!

  2. Elyse says

    5 stars
    Perfect! I substituted ajwain for the fennel and 4oz tomato sauce from a can. my Indian husband came running as soon as the sauté started. I haven’t noticed the variation.

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