Friday, September 21, 2012

Cauliflower with chickpea flour (zunka)

Zunka is a spicy dish from the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is a combination of onions and chickpea flour and lots of spices. I have kept the basic premise of Zunka but added cauliflower to make it a more substantial dish as well as to give the cauliflower some oomph.

The spicy chickpea mixture coats the cauliflower and absorbs the moisture from the cauliflower to form a nice brown crust. It is important to use a large skillet to make this dish, since we want the cauliflower to develop a crust as it cooks, instead of being steamed. Also, don't skimp on the oil as chickpea flour needs that oil to help coat the cauliflower. This dish is a great accompaniment for a simple lentil or yogurt curry and some steamed rice.

Cauliflower Zunka

1 lb cauliflower, chopped into tiny florets
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/8 teaspoon hing (asafetida)
1 cup chopped red onion
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons chickpea flour
1 teaspoon mild chili powder (kashmiri chili powder)
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro for garnish

1. Heat a 12 inch heavy bottomed non-stick skillet with canola oil. Add the mustard seeds and the asafetida. Let it pop and then add the red onion and cook over medium heat till the onions develop a nice golden brown color about 3 minutes.
2. Add the chopped cauliflower florets, toss well and cook for another 3 minutes.
3. In the meantime, mix the chickpea flour with the chili powder and turmeric and salt and set aside.
4. After the cauliflower has mixed well with the onions, add the chickpea flour mixture and coat the cauliflower with it.
5. Cook over medium heat for 15 to 18 minutes stirring occasionally till the cauliflower is completely cooked.
6. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Serves 3 - 4


  1. Good one. Going to try in a few hours.

  2. Turned out great. One has to have fine florets. Good recipe.

    1. Yes. That is the key to get the crumbly consistency. Glad you liked it.