Ghee-baked cauliflower (Gobi Musallam)
Ghee-baked cauliflower (Gobi Musallam)

Ghee-baked cauliflower (Gobi Musallam)

By Adapted from a recipe by Padmasree Vardaraj of Chennai, India Time of article published Apr 1, 2019

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The two pastes can be made a day in advance and refrigerated. For the cauliflower 1 medium head cauliflower, leaves removed.

Serves 2 to 4


  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped 
  • 2 small green chillies, stemmed, seeded if desired and coarsely chopped
  • desired and coarsely chopped 
  • One 10cm to 13cm piece peeled fresh
  • ginger root, chopped (3 to 4 tbs)
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice

For the masala

  • One 10cm to 13cm piece peeled fresh
  • ginger root, chopped (3 to 4 tbs)
  • 4 tbs coriander seed
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 8 whole black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp cumin seed
  • 4 whole cardamom pods
  • 3 tbs whole almonds
  • One 2.5cm piece cinnamon stick
  • ¼ cup freshly grated coconut (unsweetened)
  • ½ cup store-bought or home-made ghee, at room temperature
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ large onion, chopped (¾ cup)
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup plain full-fat yoghurt
  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes


  1. For the cauliflower: Rinse the cauliflower and pat dry. 
  2. Fill a pot with a few centimetres of water, then place a steamer basket/insert inside it, making sure the level of water stays below the steamer.
  3. Combine the garlic, chillies, ginger, chilli powder and garam masala in a food processor, or use a mortar and pestle to create a coarse paste. 
  4. Add the salt and lemon juice, pulsing or stirring to incorporate.
  5. Rub the paste all over the cauliflower, including between the florets. 
  6. Place the cauliflower in the steamer basket, cover and steam for 3 minutes, or until the vegetable is just tender enough to be pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.
  7. Remove from the heat. For the masala: Combine the ginger, coriander seed, cloves, peppercorns,  cumin, cardamom, almonds, cinnamon and coconut in a spice grinder or food processor; grind to create a coarse paste. 
  8. Heat half the ghee in a medium skillet over medium heat. 
  9. Add garlic and onion; cook for about  8 minutes, until they have softened, then stir in the masala paste, salt and yoghurt, adding it 1 tablespoon at a time and stirring thoroughly to incorporate. 
  10. Stir in the tomatoes; cook for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally,  until they break down. 
  11. This is your masala paste, which will lose a bit of moisture by the time it’s done; that’s okay. 
  12. Remove from the heat and transfer the paste to a bowl to cool for a few minutes.  
  13. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Coat the cauliflower with half the masala then place the cauliflower in a skillet. 
  14. Dot the vegetable with the remaining softened ghee; roast (top rack) for 15 minutes, during which time the masala paste will darken and the cauliflower will be tender throughout. 
  15. Remove from the oven; spread the remaining masala paste over the cauliflower. 
  16. Return it to the oven for 5 minutes or more.  
  17. Transfer to a platter, along with any masala paste in the pan.  
  18. Garnish with the chopped cilantro and serve hot, with steamed rice or Indian bread. 

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