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Indian Curry With Tofu, Cauliflower, And Kale

Indian Curry With Tofu, Cauliflower, And Kale

There are probably as many versions of Indian curry as there are Indian cooks. And that’s a lot! Particularly if you include in this group those of us who do not come from the Indian subcontinent but who nevertheless love a regular curry night.

No curry night is complete, however, without that quintessential curry powder (or poppadoms for that matter) but what exactly is in a curry powder? And how do we deal with the fact that no two store-bought curry powder brands contain the exact same ingredients, making it difficult to truly reproduce a recipe that simply calls for 2 teaspoons of curry powder? Well, we can make our own curry blend. That way we’ll know exactly what we are getting. But most people don’t have the time nor the inclination to make homemade curry powder on a regular basis, myself included. That’s why we’ll have to accept deviations in taste depending on what’s in your store-bought blend when compared to mine. The trick is to keep searching for that perfect-to-you curry powder and when you find it hold on for dear life and never let it go!

What exactly is curry powder?

Curry powder is not an exact science. It is a mix of different spices, and sometimes also herbs, that when mixed together make a distinct, easily recognizable, ready-to-use flavoring powder. Most of us have our own favorite ready-mixed curry powder. However, commercially made powders vary greatly in ingredients used. This means that unless you and I use the same brand of curry powder for our dish our two finished curries will not taste exactly the same. Even though we both follow the ingredients list and directions to a T.

Most commercial curry powders do share some core ingredients like turmeric, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and black pepper. But more often than not most also add additional spices such as ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, chili, anise, nutmeg, cloves, fennel seeds, star anise, paprika, and even dill seeds, dries herbs, or ground lentils. The secret to a distinctly flavored curry powder lies in the proprietary mix of some or all of these spices. Needless to say, Indian curry powders can have widely different flavor profiles and once you find your favorite its hard to let it go.

My favorite curry powder

My favorite ready-made curry powder is one I fell in love with while living in Malaysia. The only problem is it can only be bought in Malaysia. So I have to rely on friends bringing it over from time to time. And when I run out I am like a ship without a rudder. Aimlessly searching for the next best thing – which I am yet to find. I have tried making my own mix based on the ingredients listed on the back of the bottle. But without knowing the exact proportions of each spice all I can go by is that the ingredient listed first is the one with the most amount used, while the last ingredient on the list is the one with the least amount used. Everything else is pure guesswork. It turned out OK but only tasted faintly like the original. Next time I run out of my favorite I’ll give the homemade one another go. If it turns out great I’ll post it here, so stay tuned.

The curry powder used in this recipe is indeed my favorite and it contains these ingredients, in the order listed:

  • turmeric
  • coriander seeds
  • lentils
  • fenugreek seeds
  • chili
  • cumin
  • ginger
  • fennel seeds
  • cloves
  • nutmeg
  • dill seeds
  • cardamom
  • black pepper

Knowing this will give you an idea of what to look for when shopping for curry powder or what to potentially add to your existing powder in order to better match the intended flavor profile of this dish. But if you already have a favorite curry powder go ahead and use that in this recipe. Just make sure your blend is salt free or you might end up with quite a salty dish.

Also, if your curry powder is very hot (contains a lot of chili) you might want to start with less than directed and go from there. My powder is medium spicy.

What to serve this Indian curry with

Whenever we do curry night I always make Dahl, regardless of what else goes on the table. It is such a simple dish which ads so much Indian-ness to a meal. My Indian Dahl Tadka is really quick to put together and just needs to be left alone, gently simmering, for about 20 minutes. Everything goes in the pot together. No sautéing, no add this before that. Just everything in a pot, bring to a simmer and leave it alone for about 20 minutes. OK, you’ll need to stir it from time to time but that’s no sweat since you are already in the kitchen working on your tofu and cauliflower curry.

I also usually serve my curries with brown basmati rice. I often add a cinnamon stick and 5 – 10 whole cardamom pods to the rice as it cooks. This little trick takes the Indian flavors up a notch. And don’t forget to add a little salt to the cooking water as well, but go gently. It is easier to add more salt at the end if needed but virtually impossible to make cooked rice less salty after the fact.

And last but not least: don’t forget the poppadoms!

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Indian Curry with Tofu, Cauliflower, and Kale

Dea Zoffmann
Rich and colorful. Contains no coconut or ghee.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people as part of a meal


  • 300 grams firm tofu (not silken)
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ to 2 teaspoons salt free curry powder
  • 1 ½ tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 small to medium head of cauliflower, divided into smaller florets
  • 1/3 cup raw cashew nuts
  • 1/3 cup additional water
  • 3 cups chopped fresh kale


  • To squeeze some of the water out of the tofu wrap it in a clean dish towel and place something slightly heavy on top. Leave for 10 minutes before cutting the tofu into dice-sized pieces.
  • Grab a wok or deep frying pan and heat the oil over medium heat. Swirl to coat the pan and then sauté the tofu until golden brown on all sides.
  • Add the curry powder to the pan and let it "burn" for a few seconds. This burning of the curry powder without any liquid will bring out the flavors of the spices. After a few seconds of stirring add the ginger and garlic and stir for a few seconds more before adding the diced tomatoes. Stir well to make sure the tofu is well coated in the spice mix before adding the water and the cauliflower.
  • Add a little salt and then cover the wok/pan with a lid and let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • While the curry is simmering away make a cashew cream by blending the cashew nuts with the additional 1/3 cup water. You'll need a decent blender that can blend smaller amounts for this.
  • Once the cauliflower is nicely soft but not yet mushy stir in the cashew cream. Adjust saltiness, if needed, before mixing in the chopped kale.
  • Serve with brown basmati rice and poppadoms, if you like.
Keyword cauliflower, kale, Tofu

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