Roasted cauliflower with spicy homemade vindaloo sauce is brimming with traditional Indian spices for a supreme vindaloo curry paste and a mouthwatering cauliflower curry.
Vindaloo, a heavily spiced curry from the Goa region of India, tends to be fiery hot, and spicy. We aren't sparing the spice in making vindaloo paste. But we will supply mindful tips about regulating the level of heat.
We love cauliflower vindaloo curry, but you can make this powerhouse of a recipe with most of your favorite vegetables. You can also include crispy tofu if you're so inclined. The complex flavors need only basmati rice or perhaps a few flatbreads to soak up every delectable bite.
This post contains helpful tips and tricks to make sure you're successful in your first attempt. Below, you'll find a handy table of contents with links. But if you're in a rush, please use the link at the top to jump to the recipe card at the end!
⭐Why this recipe works
Vindaloo is quite possibly nirvana for spicy food lovers. Great vindaloo sauce is all about the perfect curry paste. Lucky for us, it's easily made using a combination of dry spices, aromatics, and vinegar.
Although vindaloo is a favorite order at Indian restaurants, the best reason to make it at home is that you get complete control. This means that you dictate the flavor, spicy heat, and ingredients, like no added oil, salt, and/or gluten.
📋 Key Ingredients & notes
Chili powder – Use Indian-style chili powder. And ff you can find it, try Kashmiri chili powder. You can actually use 2 tablespoons of Kashmiri chili powder in place of the sweet and smoked paprika. If not, use cayenne pepper or ground red chilis. Don't substitute Mexican or US-style chili powder. These spice blends won't compliment the aromatic spices and Indian-inspired flavors.
Smoked paprika – Be sure to check if your smoked paprika is hot. If it is, you may want to adjust the amount of chili powder or cayenne pepper.
Whole Indian spices – Vindaloo paste consists of several whole spices. The ingredient list has conversions for some whole spices to ground spices if you need them.
Apple cider vinegar – Vinegar gives the paste a zesty flavor and helps to smooth it out. White vinegar will also work here if you need a substitute.
Coconut sugar – Coconut sugar, date sugar, or another sweetener. You can also use maple syrup or date paste. Brown sugar is also an acceptable substitute.
Cauliflower – Cut a large head of cauliflower or 2 small heads into florets. You can also slice them. Try to keep the pieces relatively the same size for even roasting.
🔪 Pro tips & notes
- Grind the whole spices into a fine powder before adding the rest of the ingredients for the vindaloo paste. If your spice grinder is large, you can layer the rest of the ingredients. If not, transfer the ground spices to a blender or food processor and begin layering the ingredients.
- The vinegar and tomato paste (tomato puree) blend the dry spices into a smooth paste. Add a little water to the paste if it is still too dry after adding the vinegar.
- Try not to overcook the cauliflower before adding it to the vindaloo sauce. Stick to bite-sized pieces that won’t break apart once you add them to the sauce.
- Gently mix the roasted cauliflower right at the end. You don’t want to break up any delicate florets.
Our recipes and instructions never include added oil in the preparation or cooking processes. Oil is highly processed and adds extra saturated fat we choose to avoid. Feel free to add oil to the cooking process if you desire.
Instant Pot or slow cooker instructions
If you want to speed up the process, you can cook vegetables in the sauce in the Instant Pot. Add the vindaloo paste and the ingredients for the sauce into the Instant Pot. Mix all the ingredients and then add raw cauliflower. Pressure cook on High Pressure for 1 minute and allow 2 minutes of natural pressure release.
Likewise, you can make this dish in the slow cooker following the instructions for the Instant Pot. Cook on medium-low heat for several hours.
💭 Common Questions
Fenugreek has a unique maple syrup flavor that is difficult to replace. Ground fenugreek is obviously the best substitute, but you can also try ½ a teaspoon of fennel seeds for each teaspoon of fenugreek seeds.
You can use any roasted, sauteed, or steamed veggies for vindaloo. In addition to cauliflower, consider broccoli, potatoes, carrots, or a combination.
Vindaloo paste and sauce can both be made several days ahead of time. Store the sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat it on the stove. Then add roasted cauliflower, baked tofu, or other veggies of your choice.
Kashmiri chili powder is made with a specific mix of red chilies. Find it in your grocery store if it has a wide range of Indian food or in specialty stores.
🍽 Serving & storage
Vindaloo paste and vindaloo sauce can be made several days ahead. The paste can be frozen, as can the sauce. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Is your vindaloo too hot?
If you test out the sauce and your mouth lights on fire (it happens), don’t despair. If it's only mildly out of your spice tolerance, try adding another tablespoon of tomato paste. If it's still too spicy, consider adding coconut milk or cashew cream. The flavor will still make a delicious meal.
To make cashew cream, soak ½ a cup of raw cashews in boiling water for 15 minutes. Rinse and drain the cashews, then blend the cashews with ½ a cup of cold water until smooth. You can add lemon juice or coconut extract if you want to flavor it.
We’ve noticed that the spiciness mellows upon reheating. Like many complex dishes, the flavor is better on day 2. Another reason for making ahead!
If you like tangy flavors, lemon juice or a few lemon wedges on the side is an appropriate garnish. Consider rice or even noodles to soak up the saucy vindaloo. We also recommend dropping in a batch of crispy tofu to drop into the pot or making a batch of potato tortillas.
📖 Related recipes
👩🏻🍳 Recipe: Roasted Cauliflower with Homemade Vindaloo Sauce
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 6 1x
- Category: Curry
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Indian
- Diet: Vegan
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds (1 ½ teaspoon ground)
- 3 teaspoons cumin seeds (1 teaspoon ground)
- 4 whole cloves (¼ teaspoon ground)
- ½ teaspoon cardamom seeds (½ teaspoon ground)
- 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (½ teaspoon fenugreek powder)
- ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns (¾ teaspoon ground)
- 10 cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoons minced ginger
- 1-2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
- 1- 2 teaspoons chili powder, cayenne pepper, or crushed red chili pepper, (not the American blend)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon coconut sugar or date sugar
- 7 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Vindaloo Sauce & Cauliflower
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 teaspoons ginger
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1 ½ teaspoons garam masala
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 large head of cauliflower cut into bite-sized florets
- Roast the cauliflower. Preheat the oven to 425 F. (220 C.). Trim the cauliflower head into florets, cutting any larger pieces in half if needed. Plate the florets on a baking tray and lightly sprinkle salt and pepper. Bake the cauliflower until slightly browned and tend when pierced with a fork. About 20 minutes.
- Make the vindaloo paste. Add the whole spices (the first 6 ingredients) into a spice grinder and grind them into a fine powder. If your spice grinder is large and can handle wet ingredients, you can start layering the rest of the ingredients. Otherwise, transfer the spices to a blender or small food processor.
- Finish the paste. Add the garlic and ginger to the ground spices. Blend to break up the aromatics. Then add the dry spices, sugar, and vinegar. Blend until you have a smooth paste. Add a splash of water if it is too dry.
- Make the sauce. Heat a medium to a large pot or large skillet to medium-high heat. Add the onions and stir them around in the dry pan until they soften (3-5 minutes). Add the garlic, ginger, black mustard seeds, and garam masala. Stir for 30 seconds to mix. Mix in the tomato paste and vindaloo paste. Then add the vegetable broth.
- Finish the dish. Let the sauce simmer for about 5 minutes to combine the ingredients and thicken. Then gently add roasted cauliflower.
- Serve. Serve with rice, flatbread, and/or cashew cream.
- If you have Kashmiri chili powder, you can use 3-4 tablespoons to replace the sweet and smoked paprika and chili powder.
- For a milder flavor, add less chili powder initially. You can always add more to the sauce. If your sauce is just too spicy, consider adding more tomato paste or coconut milk to mellow it out.
- Vindaloo sauce makes a flavorful curry with most vegetables, including potatoes. Or consider baked tofu.
- To make thick cashew cream, soak ½ a cup of raw cashews in boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain and blend with ½ - 1 cup of water until smooth.
Keywords: vindaloo curry paste, vindaloo sauce, vegan, oil-free, plant-based, cauliflower