roasted cauliflower

This is one of those vegetarian dishes that simply features the main ingredient, in this case, cauliflower.

This recipe for phulkopir roast is a Bengali family preparation, apparently on high rotation in my Grandmother’s kitchen.

There is a spice hit from the Bengali panch phoran  and the late addition of sliced chillies. At first look there appears to be a lot of ghee, but this is absorbed into the cauliflower and it won’t become oily. This ghee brings out the flavour of the cauliflower.

The dish is not hot and goes well with most dishes in this cookbook. It makes a great addition to menus for vegetarians.

Because of its simplicity it is an ideal dish for family dining. Served with plain rice or roti, dal and some pickles, it is a wholesome family dinner. Pretty good for singles cooking too.

In the original recipes my Grandmother pan-roasted the cauliflower and added water. I have modified this original recipe to use oven roasting instead, giving a better texture and preserving the taste of the cauliflower. Oven roasting without liquid will likely lead to burnt tips on the cauliflower, which is a desirable outcome and adds to the dish.

If you want to pan-roast, follow the recipe and instead of putting in the oven, add one cup of water and cook covered on a stove top for around 30 minutes.

the recipe

preparation:5 mins
cook:25 mins
total:30 mins
servings:4 servings
calories:316 kcal


to serve


  • Preheat the oven to 200C.
  • Cut the cauliflower into generous florets about 5cm wide at the top with a trailing stem.
  • Place the florets in a bowl, sprinkle over the turmeric, then gently toss to ensure each floret is coated.
  • Heat the ghee in a small frypan over medium heat. Add the panch phoran and fry until the seeds just start to crackle, which will only take a minute. Be very careful not to burn the spices.
  • Slowly pour the ghee over the cauliflower and ensure that each piece is well coated. Sprinkle over the salt and gently toss the florets. Keep tossing until there is no ghee left in the bottom of the bowl and it has all been absorbed into the cauliflower.
  • Transfer the cauliflower to a baking paper-lined oven tray. If there are loose seeds left in the bowl sprinkle them over the florets.
  • Place cauliflower in oven and roast for about 25 minutes or until tender. A few mildly burnt tips are acceptable.

to serve

  • Toss the roast cauliflower with the sliced chilli, coriander and lemon juice.


  • Choose a medium-sized cauliflower, weighing about 1kg.
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