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!
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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.

  3. Daniel says

    5 stars
    We eat this often and it’s delicious. The only variation is we’ll often use a juicier tomato than Roma to help the sauce better cover the cauliflower. The original and the variation are both tasty

  4. SA says

    4 stars
    It says 0 minutes for the instant pot cook time. Did you mean 10 minutes? I set it for 10 mins and it came out quite flavorful, but a bit watery

  5. Rekha says

    Hi Ashley, how many cups of cauliflower florets would you estimate this calls for as written? Trying to figure out if I need to increase the amount of spices based on 8 cups of florets.

    • Ashley - My Heart Beets says

      Hi Nikita, I haven’t tried this with frozen cauliflower so I’m not sure – my only concern would be that the texture of the cauliflower may not be as firm as if you were to use fresh, though the flavor would be the same. Let me know how it goes if you try 🙂

  6. Kelsey says

    4 stars
    This was a nice tasty side dish. I gave it four stars because it seemed a little lacking on it’s own. I ended up mixing it with some leftover chicken and a Cucumber vinegar salad. The combination really worked with the acidity. I made the recipe as stated but used anise seeds instead of fennel. Fairly easy and tasty 🙂

    • Ashley - My Heart Beets says

      Hi Kelsey, I’m glad you liked it. Just so you know though, this is a side dish as it’s just cauliflower. With Indian food, you typically serve several dishes, so it’s good you paired it with other dishes.

  7. Julie J says

    5 stars
    This was really good! I used a can of diced tomatoes in place of fresh. My husband doesn’t really like cauliflower but it’s my favorite vegetable, so he agreed to try it with an Indian twist, and we both enjoyed your recipe! I think it’s even better the next day, and the fennel seeds rocked my world.

  8. Pauline Dennis says

    I can find Fenugreek where I live. Can I make it without it? Wilmot change the taste of the dish?

  9. Deanna says

    5 stars
    10 stars – this was outstanding! I made this yesterday as a side dish for a birthday dinner (most of the dishes came from your website – Curried Tomato Soup, Navratan Korma, and your chai spiced chocolates were all on the menu). This was the star of the show! Such great flavors and so delicious. This is going to be in regular rotation on my weekend dinner party menus AND I am going to double or triple it. The only thing I did differently was add an onion and a 1/2 since I had another recipe that need only 1/2 an onion. The hardest part of this recipe s getting the onion golden brown, but that doesn’t require a lot of hands on time at all so overall an easy to make dish with TONS of great flavor. The second my guests had a bite they declared it their favorite thing on the menu! THANK YOU – I love your recipe and posts.

  10. Alicia says

    5 stars
    SOOOOOOO GOOOD! Made it last night and everything was on point! I substituted the kashmiri chili powder for 1/2 tsp of cayenne & 1/2 tsp of paprika. Also, the 1 tsp kasoori methi for the 1 tsp mustard seeds. Just the right amopunt of kick! Thank you for sharing!

  11. Donovan says

    Hi, Ashley!

    A former co-worker of mine visited last weekend and we always try new recipes when she’s here. We made the empanadas (double batch), mini pies, achari chicken kebabs (OMG), butter chicken, masala cauliflower, and the artichoke hummus (two batches). BTW, dipping the achari chicken into the artichoke hummus (with hot smoked paprika on top) is DIVINE. THANKS SO MUCH for sharing your recipes!

  12. Stacey says

    I just got through eating this dish. It was delicious! I made it a complete meal by adding a pound of chicken and serving it on artisan lettuce.

  13. Diane Barber says

    Hi there … I am making this tonight and I am using Ginger tonight . But , I was wondering if I could substitute Galangal for the Ginger ? Fortunately we have a wonderful spice shop in Olympia that carries dried Fenugreek Leaves ( Essential for my favorite, Butter Chicken. ) I also picked up some Amchur ( Mango Powder ) and I have no idea what to use it for . Can you give me any suggestions ??? Thank You for all the wonderful Curry dishes you have posted and for the 3 ingredient Naan Bread ! :0)

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Diane, I’m sorry for the late reply! I’m not sure about subbing galangal for ginger but if you tried this, please let me know how it turned out for you. I’m happy to hear that you use dried Fenugreek leaves when you make butter chicken – I agree, it is essential! As for amchur powder – it’s used as a souring agent in Indian cooking. You can add a pinch to any curry dish/recipe for a slightly acidic/tangy taste. I’ll work on a recipe using amchur for ya 🙂

  14. SarahP says

    My husband made this last night and served it over spiced ground meat, and it was fantastic! My appetite has been on the fritz lately, but this was delicious enough to have me wanting to eat it all. Thanks for sharing, and keep the tasty noms coming!

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