Malabar cauliflower

The perfect little snack to rustle up for yourself, your family or when entertaining, these crispy cauliflower florets are intensely spiced and seriously moreish. The Malabar pepper is well worth seeking out – it adds a warmth that regular black pepper can’t (although it’s fine to use regular black pepper too). You can find this recipe and many others in Rohit's cookbook Tarkari.

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First published in 2021
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Rohit says: ‘Malabar cauliflower is a spicy, deep-fried dish originating from Chennai in southern India. I make it as a quick snack and slightly tweak the recipe using Malabar pepper, one of the best quality black peppercorns.’






Place the cauliflower florets in a bowl and toss with the curry leaves, half of the chilli powder, lime juice and a pinch of salt


Add the rice flour, cornflour, green chillies, garam masala, ginger-garlic paste, the remaining teaspoon of red chilli powder, black pepper and a pinch of salt


Start trickling in water bit by bit, stirring the cauliflower constantly to create a batter – the batter shouldn’t be too thick or too thin; just thick enough to stick to and coat the cauliflower in a thin layer


Heat the rapeseed oil in a saucepan until it reaches 180°C. Drop the cauliflower florets in the oil and deep-fry until cooked through, crisp and golden brown (work in batches if you need to). This should take around 7-8 minutes. Drain on kitchen paper. If you’re including the red chillies, quickly fry them in the hot oil for a few seconds after all the cauliflower is done


Serve hot with the chopped coriander, fried chillies and coconut sprinkled on top, plus a final pinch of the Malabar pepper

First published in 2021

After making his name and winning Michelin stars at some of London's most high-profile Indian restaurants, Rohit Ghai's solo venture Kutir cements his reputation for cooking some of the best Indian food in the UK.

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