Kerala-Style Vegetable Coconut Curry

A comforting and aromatic vegetable curry made with coconut milk and spices.

Kerala-Style Cauliflower Curry

Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Active Time:
50 mins
Total Time:
50 mins

Jes Thomas’ Kerala-style vegetable curry, inspired by one her aunt Leelamma made, is pure comfort — a delicious, warming addition to your cold season repertoire. It starts with an aromatic base of coconut oil, and mustard seeds as well as fresh onion, garlic, and ginger. Jalapeno deepens the flavor profile while lending a bit of heat. It doesn’t stop there! Tomatoes, curry leaves, and spices like garam masala, asafoetida (hing), coriander, and turmeric add complexity and complete the flavor.

Once the base is assembled, add comforting fall vegetables like cauliflower, potatoes, and canned chickpeas. You can bulk out the stew by adding your favorite frozen vegetables like peas, carrots, greens beans, or corn. Finish the curry with rich and creamy coconut milk and serve it with rice or parathas. The whole pot comes together in less than an hour, making it a great option for a cozy weeknight dinner at home.


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons refined coconut oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

  • 1 large (11 ounce) yellow onion, chopped (2 cups)

  • 2 jalapeño chiles (7-8 ounce each), seeded and finely chopped (1/3 cup)

  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped (1 tablespoon)

  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)

  • 1 medium (6 ounce) tomato, chopped (1 cup)

  • 12 fresh curry leaves

  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala

  • 1/2 teaspoon asafoetida powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 4 cups cauliflower florets (from 1 small [1 1/2 pound] cauliflower)

  • 1 large (12 ounce) russet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-in. cubes (about 2 1/4 cups)

  • 2 cups unthawed frozen vegetables (such as green beans, corn, carrots, and peas) (from 1 [16-ounce] package)

  • 2 tablespoons water, as needed

  • 1 (13 1/2-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed

  • 1 (13 1/2-ounce) can coconut milk, well shaken and stirred

  • Steamed white or brown rice or warmed parathas


  1. Heat coconut oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium until shimmering, about 1 minute. Add mustard seeds, and cook, undisturbed, until seeds begin to pop and crackle (stand back so they don’t pop in your face), about 1 minute. Add onion, jalapeños, garlic, and ginger; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes.

  2. Stir tomato into onion mixture in Dutch oven. Stir in curry leaves, coriander, salt, garam masala, asafoetida, and turmeric. Cook, stirring often, until mixture browns slightly, 3 to 5 minutes.

  3. Add cauliflower, potato, and frozen vegetables to Dutch oven, stirring to completely coat in spice mixture. Cover Dutch oven; reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until potato and cauliflower are just softened, 20 to 30 minutes. (Add about 2 tablespoons water, if needed, if bottom of Dutch oven is looking very dry.)

  4. Stir chickpeas and coconut milk into Dutch oven; increase heat to medium, and bring to a simmer. Simmer until heated through, about 3 minutes. Season with additional salt to taste. Serve over steamed rice or alongside warm parathas.

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