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Instant Pot Cauliflower Tikka Masala

by Sophie

Instant pot Cauliflower tikka masala is one of the easiest instant pot curries with a perfect balance of spices, creaminess, and sweetness. And it’s a great recipe to feed a large crowd.

When a recipe says “Tikka Masala” there has to be some tikka in it. That means if it’s cauliflower tikka masala, then the recipe should have a curry sauce and cauliflower tikka or grilled/broiled spiced cauliflower in it. To my surprise, many recipes that say cauliflower tikka masala actually don’t have any tikka. They just use cauliflower florets and cook in a creamy, tomatoey sauce.


Like many of you, I am in love with anything tikka masala. But cauliflower holds a special place. It’s chewy yet soft and it’s versatile for such curries. I have another tikka masala recipe here that is made from Seitan.

vegan seitan tikka masala
vegan seitan tikka masala

Lately, I have been experimenting a lot with cauliflower in many recipes. Here are some interesting recipes from the blog.

It’s quick to cook almost anything in an instant pot. Just sauté all the ingredients, add tomatoes and spices. Add in cauliflower tikka and cook. That simple!

If you have a Mealthy Instant Pot CrispLid, then you can bake and cook the same recipe in an instant pot. But don’t worry if you don’t have one. You can either pan cook, fry, air fry or bake your cauliflower tikka before adding to the sauce.

How to make instant pot Cauliflower tikka masala?

Ingredients for Instant Pot Cauliflower Tikka Masala:

For Tikka – 3 cups Cauliflower florets (washed and cleaned), Marinade – 1 tbsp of coconut yogurt or 2 tbsp aquafaba, 1 tbsp Indian curry powder, 1/2 tsp garam masala, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp salt

Tikka Masala Ingredients– 4 tbsp to 1/2 cup precooked Indian curry paste or 1 medium onion diced, 3 cloves of garlic minced, 1 inch ginger grated, 3 cups of fresh or canned tomato puree, 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves, 1 tsp curry powder, 1 tsp garam masala, 1 tbsp coriander and cumin powder mixed, 1/2 tsp red chili powder, and salt to taste(1 tbsp cooking oil or 1/4 cup aquafaba to cook the veggies)

Other ingredients – 1/2 cup coconut cream or cashew cream or heavy cream(vegetarian)

How to Make Tikka Masala Sauce?

  • Roughly mince onion, ginger, and garlic and sauté in the instant pot by adding a tbsp of oil. I use a food processor to mince coarsely.
  • Once the mixture looks slightly brown and translucent, add spices – turmeric, curry powder, cayenne pepper, salt, fenugreek leaves powder, and a pinch of stevia. Mix well.
  • Add two cups of fresh or canned tomato purée. Do Not Mix if using canned tomato purée.
  • Add water and pressure cook for 5 minutes and allow natural pressure release.

How to Make Cauliflower Tikka?

  • Meanwhile, prepare your cauliflower tikkas.
  • Just add all spices listed under the marinade and give cauliflower florets a good coat. Cook them in a cast iron pan (5 minutes) or bake them at 350F on a greased baking sheet until the edges are brown. (15-20 minutes).

NOTE: to avoid burning the sauce, scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any onion sticking to the pan. Use oil or water to for this step and always do it before adding tomatoes. After adding tomatoes, never mix the sauce. Just add water and close the lid.

  • Once the instant pot releases all steam(NPR) and the valve go back to its original position, change the valve position to vent and open the lid.
  • Now add cauliflower florets and bring the mixture to a quick boil by using the sauté mode. Seal the pot and set pressure cook for 0 minutes.
  • After the QPR, just give a good mix and add cashew purée, coconut milk/cream or heavy cream. I have added coconut cream here to make it Keto. But the vegan version with cashew purée works the best.
  • Now add cilantro, a tbsp of the cream and serve warm with basmati rice or naan.
  • Enjoy your cauliflower tikka masala and refrigerate up to 3-days.

What is Tikka Masala?

Tikka masala is a British-Indian curry made from protein or veggies cooked in a tomato and cream-based sauce. Tikka masala has a very distinctive sweet and spicy flavor, very popular in the Western countries.

Is Tikka Masala Sauce Vegan?

Well, it depends if the recipe uses nut cream or dairy cream for the sauce. My version of Seitan Tikka Masala uses cashew cream whereas this Cauliflower Tikka Masala uses coconut cream.

How to Serve Tikka Masala?

Any tikka masala – Cauliflower or Tofu and even meat-based ones are served with Indian Basmati rice or naan. However, you can also serve this curry with rice, roti and/or any Indian bread.

Is Cauliflower Tikka Masala Keto?

My version of cauliflower tikka masala is vegan and keto. It has good fat from coconut cream and low-carb veggies like cauliflower. Also, it doesn’t have any added sugar. Cauliflower is one low-carb vegetable, ideal for keto cooking. Here is a detailed article on the health benefits of cauliflower.

Easy instant pot cauliflower tikka masala

Instant Pot Cauliflower Tikka Masala

Vegan, keto and made in instant pot – it's my version of easy instant pot cauliflower tikka masala made under 30-minutes.
5 from 35 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: cauliflower recipes, Cauliflower tikka, cauliflower tikka masala, instant pot recipes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 107kcal
Author: Sophie
Cost: $6

Equipment

  • Instant pot

Ingredients

For Tikka

  • 3 cups Cauliflower florets (washed and cleaned)

Marinade

  • 1 tbsp Coconut yogurt
  • or 2 tbsp aquafaba
  • 1 tbsp Indian curry powder +1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

Tikka Masala Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp to 1/2 cup precooked Indian curry paste Or,
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 inch ginger grated
  • 3 cups fresh or canned tomato puree
  • 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp coriander and cumin powder mixed
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • salt to taste and a pinch of stevia or sweetener of choice
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil or 1/4 cup aquafaba to cook the veggies

Other ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut cream or cashew cream or heavy cream(vegetarian)
  • 1/2 cup Water to thin the sauce (optional)

Instructions

  • If not using curry paste, follow these steps.
  • Roughly mince onion, ginger, and garlic and sauté in the instant pot by adding a tbsp of oil. I use a food processor to mince coarsely.
    Instant pot tikka masala sauce
  • Next once the mixture looks slightly brown and translucent, add spices – turmeric,
    curry powder, cayenne pepper, salt, fenugreek leaves powder, and a pinch of
    stevia. Mix well.
    How to make tikka masala sauce
  • Add two cups of fresh or canned tomato purée. DO Not Mix if using canned tomato purée. Add water and pressure cook for 5 minutes and allow natural pressure release.
    How to make tikka masala sauce

Cook Cauliflower Tikkas

  • Meanwhile, prepare your cauliflower tikkas. Just add all spices mentioned under marinade
    and give cauliflower florets a good coat. Cook them in a cast iron pan (5 minutes) or bake them at 350F on a greased baking sheet until the edges are brown. (15-20 minutes).

Prepare Tikka Masala

  • After the NPR, when the instant pot releases all steam and the valve goes down to its original
    position, change to valve position to vent and open the lid.
  • Now add cauliflower florets and bring the mixture to a quick boil by using the sauté mode. Seal the pot and set pressure cook for 0 minutes.
    Instant pot cauliflower tikka masala sauce
  • After the cook time, do a QPR and give a good mix and add cashew purée, coconut milk/cream or heavy cream. I have added coconut cream here to make it Keto. But the vegan version with cashew purée works the best.
  • Now add cilantro, rest of the cream lists under garnish and serve
    warm with basmati rice or naan.
    Instant pot cauliflower tikka masala
  • Enjoy your cauliflower tikka masala warm and refrigerate the leftover up to 3-days.
    Tikka masala with caulflower

Notes

  • For a spicier curry, adde more red chili or cayenne pepper powder.
  • Make my Indian Curry Paste for a five minute curry. Just add water, curry paste and cauliflower tikka and pressure cook for 2 minutes in low.

Nutrition

Serving: 200g | Calories: 107kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 3g | Fiber: 7.5g | Sugar: 7g

Click here to Pinit !

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37 comments

Gloria | Homemade & Yummy August 12, 2019 - 1:00 pm

5 stars
This is a nice veggie version of the classic. I will adapt this for my regular stovetop pressure cooker. I will pass it along to my daughter and she can make it in her Instant Pot. We can compare notes!!

Reply
Amanda August 12, 2019 - 1:00 pm

5 stars
What a delicious recipe! The cauliflower was such a nice alternative, and cooking this tikka masala in the Instant Pot makes everything super simple. Thanks so much for sharing!

Reply
Florid Forest August 12, 2019 - 1:25 pm

5 stars
This sounds sooo good! Thank you!!!

Reply
Hackytips August 12, 2019 - 3:56 pm

I use cauliflowers only for Manchurian and pulao. I have an instant pot and I should give a try! Looks yum 🙂

Reply
deji moronfola/ beautybeyondphysique August 12, 2019 - 10:43 pm

5 stars
that looks incredibly delicious…yummy

Reply
Nia De la torre August 13, 2019 - 2:10 am

5 stars
This looks absolutely mouth watering! I can’t wait to give this a try!

Reply
Elaine Benoit August 13, 2019 - 9:40 am

5 stars
Yummy! I love tikka masala and enjoy cauliflower so I bet this recipe is outstanding and a must try. It looks so delicious and easy to make. Another reason to love my IP!!

Reply
Luna S August 13, 2019 - 10:08 am

This looks like the perfect meal for when it starts getting a little chilly out.

Reply
Evan August 13, 2019 - 4:12 pm

5 stars
One of these fine days I’ll be a master chef with all your tasty recipes.

Reply
Pam Greer August 13, 2019 - 6:14 pm

5 stars
Thank you for explaining about tikka, I had no idea what was actually meant by tikka! This is the perfect meatless Monday recipe!

Reply
Jackline A August 13, 2019 - 6:39 pm

I love Tikka Masala, this recipe looks super easy. I need to try this with my instant pot

Reply
Binge on Basics August 15, 2019 - 9:45 am

5 stars
Thanks for sharing the recipe. It looks delicious. Will try it

Reply
Adventures with Shelby August 13, 2019 - 9:11 pm

Sounds delicious! I’ll have to try it

Reply
Rudy Stankowitz August 13, 2019 - 9:55 pm

5 stars
I Love cauliflower!!! Though my children when they were young called them brains … I am going to bookmark this and come back and try a few.

Reply
Malini August 13, 2019 - 11:38 pm

5 stars
Cauliflower Tikka Masala – Never tried coconut cream for Tikka masalas, it sounds absolutely yummy. Just a few Rotis and this Cauliflower masala can make a heavenly meal. I will try and adapt this recipe for my electric cooker. Thanks for sharing.

Reply
Francisco August 14, 2019 - 1:53 am

5 stars
Mm, looks delicious! Always on the lookout for one pot recipes

Reply
siennylovesdrawing August 14, 2019 - 2:54 am

5 stars
yeah!! I love to eat yes, a typical food lover, just love your captures in this sharing. Thanks for this awesome tasty recipe sharing. cheers, siennylovesdrawing

Reply
Mirela | The Travel Bunny August 14, 2019 - 8:40 am

5 stars
Can this be done without an instant pot? Because it looks great to try, but I don’t have or want an instant pot…

Reply
Sophie August 14, 2019 - 9:07 am

Yes, just follow the same process and cook the masala sauce in a pan or sauce pan on stovetop.

Reply
Martin August 14, 2019 - 12:57 pm

This looks YUMMY!!! In fact please come over and make this for me!! I’m not the best cook but one day would love to give something like this a go. It look amazing!

Reply
anshul August 15, 2019 - 1:42 am

5 stars
The whole process and photos was made so interesting thanks to your skills. Would love to try by myself

Reply
Lorita August 15, 2019 - 9:44 am

5 stars
nice! I’m out of inspirations with my Instant Pot lately. Now i have a good reason to use it again.

Reply
Lata Lala August 16, 2019 - 2:38 am

5 stars
Cauliflower tikka masala sounds so very interesting. I have never tried this type of tikka. It must be a treat for vegetarians. And in instant pot sounds so easy and interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Reply
Blair villanueva August 16, 2019 - 10:32 am

5 stars
I admit, i am not good in the kitchen and continuesly learning to be one. Your recipe is making me hungry, looks delicious.

Reply
Kelly Anthony August 16, 2019 - 5:48 pm

5 stars
I just got an instant pot and I’ve only made a sweet potato in it. Embarrassing I know! So I’m super excited to make this super flavorful cauliflower tikka masala.

Reply
Rebecca Blackwell August 17, 2019 - 12:32 am

5 stars
I am just starting to get familiar with my instant pot – it’s new! – and this looks like my next recipe to try. Thank you so much for sharing! I’ll let you know how it goes.

Reply
Cathleen @ A Taste of Madness August 17, 2019 - 12:35 pm

5 stars
You can bet that this recipe is convincing me to get an instant pot!! This looks so good!!

Reply
Tammy August 17, 2019 - 1:54 pm

5 stars
I’ve been on such a cauliflower kick again lately and I’m not craving this! So creamy and irresistible…I’m sold and cannot wait to try!

Reply
Jayashree T.Rao August 18, 2019 - 9:09 am

This looks amazing, the use of instant pot has reduced the cooking time for you. Love all the flavours here.

Reply
Karyl Henry August 18, 2019 - 5:38 pm

5 stars
I’m not the biggest fan of cauliflower, but my parents love it and are always looking for new ways to prepare it. They also love curry, so this looks like the perfect recipe for them

Reply
Amanda M Mason August 19, 2019 - 12:30 am

5 stars
Such helpful tips! Love the step-by-step instructions! Love tiki masala! Can’t wait to try this cauliflower versions.

Reply
Jagruti Dhanecha August 19, 2019 - 3:42 pm

Vegan tikka masala, a unique vegan dish that sounds so delicious, and IP makes a whole job lot easier.

Reply
Mayuri Patel August 23, 2019 - 2:20 pm

Ok, I’m sold to your idea of serving cauliflower in a rich cashew nut gravy with tikka masala. I’m not a big fan of cauliflower, but your description of the cauliflower tikka masala has made me feel hungry. Would love to try out this recipe.

Reply
Janice August 25, 2019 - 12:34 pm

5 stars
I am planning to make this and you say to add turmeric in instructions but there is no turmeric listed in the ingredients. Am I missing something?

Reply
Sophie August 25, 2019 - 10:30 pm

Adding turmeric is optional if your curry powder has enough. But I suggest adding 1/2 tsp of curry powder to this recipe. I am going to edit the recipe card and add this spice. Thanks for letting me know.

Reply
Barbara WIEDEMANN October 19, 2019 - 2:18 pm

Set the instant pot for 0 minutes after adding the cauliflower?

Reply
Sophie October 19, 2019 - 3:24 pm

Yes, 0 minutes. We just need the pressure to build up and that will cook the cauliflowers. No need to pressure cook them.

Reply

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