Tandoori Cauliflower is a wonderful gluten-free and low-carb appetizer. Tossed with a spiced yogurt marinade and roasted in the oven or air fryer, this Tandoori Gobi Tikka is so flavorful, golden and crispy. The whole family will love this easy and heathy cauliflower recipe!
This is an excellent North Indian appetizer which is healthy, and so quick with the air fryer or oven.
I made this once when some friends had come over and it was a super hit. One of my friend was so excited with the taste and convenience of the air fryer, that he ordered it the very next day.
What is Tandoori Cauliflower?
Tandoori Caulifower is basically Indian style roasted cauliflower wings in tandoori spices. It is also called Tandoori Gobi or Gobi Tikka.
If you are looking for a tandoori appetizer, typically chicken tikka or paneer tikka come to mind. This Cauliflower Tikka is the healthier low-carb version.
This Indian spiced recipe might seem exotic with the list of ingredients, but it is actually fairly easy to make. Marinate the cauliflower and then bake it.
Pair with a simple raita and salad to get a restaurant-style appetizer/snack or enjoy it as a side dish.
Cauliflower – A medium to large head of cauliflower, cut into about 1 and ½ inch florets.
Yogurt – I use greek yogurt or thick full-fat plan yogurt.
Gram flour – This helps the marinade stick better to the cauliflower wings. This is an optional ingredients, so feel free to skip if you don't have it.
Lime juice – Adds a tanginess to the final dish
Spices – I like to use a number of aromatic Indian spices such as turmeric, cumin, garam masala, chaat masala, red chili powder.
Ginger & Garlic – Freshly grated or use ginger garlic paste
Dried fenugreek leaves: Also known as Kasoori methi, gives the dish a delicious aroma. If you don't have it, it is okay to skip.
Garnish: lime wedges, chaat masala, and onion rounds
How to make?
I looked at many existing recipes when preparing for this one. However I found that most recipes boil the cauliflower before air frying. But that is too much work. I like 1-step processes. so I tried to directly air fry or roast in the oven. The results were great. Less work and same taste.
Cut the Cauliflower
Rinse the cauliflower under tap water and wipe it dry. Cut and discard the stem. Then cut the cauliflower into 1 inch pieces.
Here is my post about how to steam cauliflower, where I also detail how to easily cut a cauliflower.
For this tandoori cauliflower wings recipe, you want to make sure to keep chop the florets along with the stems. This helps for the cauliflower pieces to not get mushy, and hold their shape as they are cooked.
Prepare the Marinade & Add Cauliflower
Mix all the ingredients to make the marinade in a bowl.
This marinade is super flavorful and the addition of Kashmiri red chili powder gives the cauliflower starter a wonderful color.
Now add the florets to the marinade and gently coat them. You can coat with a spoon or use your hands.
Air Fryer Method
Transfer the cauliflower florets to the air fryer basket. Arrange them in a single layer. Cook in multiple batches if needed.
Brush or spray with oil and bake at 360°F (or 180℃) for 18 mins.
Shake in between at 10 minutes. (Note: Check after 16 minutes and adjust cooking time as needed)
Crispy Cauliflower Tikka Bites from you air fryer are ready to be devoured.
Preheat the oven to 400°F/ 200°C.
Place the cauliflower florets in a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread them in a single layer. Brush or spray with oil.
Roast the tandoori gobi for 18-20 minutes. Now set the oven to “broil” and cook for 3 more minutes.
Take out and serve!
Note: This recipe was created in 2017, and updated with new pictures in 2022. Below is an image from 2017.
Tandoori Cauliflower Tikka Skewers
You can also thread the marinated cauliflower into skewers and cook on the air fryer, oven or grill.
I used bamboo skewers. To avoid burning the skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes before putting them together. If you have a batch of stainless steel or metal skewers on hand, you can use them without soaking them.
I have shown below how I cooked the skewers in the air fryer.
Perfectly cooked, and so delicious!
- I used gram flour, also called besan in this recipe. If you don't have access to it, try with all-purpose flour or rice flour. I tried and they were great and crispier. It is just a tad bit healthier (and more authentic) with gram flour.
- If you don't have all the spices mentioned, vary with the spices you have at hand. Also, adjust spice level to your taste.
- Another great thing about this Tandoori Gobi is that you can prep the marinade with the cauliflower florets and refrigerate the day before. Perfect for entertaining!
- Tandoori Broccoli - This could be a great appetizer to make with broccoli too. Marinate the same way. You will need to adjust the cooking time down for broccoli, as it cooks quicker than cauliflower. I typically air fry broccoli for about 6-8 minutes at 350F.
What to serve with Tandoori Cauliflower
- Serve tandoori gobi with mint cilantro chutney as an appetizer. If you like a milder dip, try my yogurt dipping sauce.
- Add the roasted cauliflower to a buddha bow, such as this sorghum grain bowl or roasted sweet potato quinoa buddha bowl.
- Add the cauliflower tikka bites to wraps. Check out my paneer frankie recipe for how to make the most delicious wraps or kathi rolls.
- This roasted tandoori cauliflower are great to add to salads too.
- You can also serve them as a veggie side with meat or indian curries.
How to Store?
This is a great dish to meal prep. You can prep the marinade, chop the cauliflower and refrigerate it. Mix them and roast for a weeknight dinner.
Cooked Tandoori cauliflower stays fresh in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat in the preheated oven or air fryer for about 5 minutes.
Do you wash cauliflower before roasting?
I always like to wash cauliflower, and dry it before using. The drying helps so that the marinade does not get runny, and the roasted cauliflower is crispy.
Hope you enjoy this easy recipe!
Tandoori Cauliflower (Gobi Tikka)
- 1 head Cauliflower (Gobi)
- Oil for brushing
- Lime wedges to garnish
- Cilantro leaves chopped, to garnish
For the marinade
- ½ cup Greek Yogurt or thick yogurt
- 1 tablespoon Gram flour (Besan) optional
- 1 tablespoon Ginger paste
- 1 tablespoon Garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
- 1 teaspoon Kashmiri Red Chili Powder mild, adjust to taste
- ½ teaspoon Ground Turmeric (Haldi powder)
- 1 teaspoon Chaat Masala or add 2 teaspoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon Dried Fenugreek leaves (Kasoori Methi) (optional)
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin (Jeera powder) (optional)
- ½ teaspoon Carom seeds (Ajwain) (optional)
- Rinse the cauliflower under tap water and wipe it dry. Cut and discard the stem. Then cut the cauliflower into 1 inch pieces.
- In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients for the marinade to get a smooth paste like consistency.
- Add the cauliflower florets and mix well so they get coated with the marinade.
- (optional) If you like, you can thread the cauliflowers into skewers.
Air Fryer Method
- Transfer the cauliflower florets to the air fryer basket. Arrange them in a single layer. Cook in multiple batches if needed.Brush with oil and bake at 360°F (or 180℃) for 18 mins. Shake in between at 10 minutes. (Note: Check after 16 minutes and adjust cooking time as needed)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F/ 200°C. Place the cauliflower florets in a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread them in a single layer. Brush or spray with oil.Roast the tandoori gobi for 18-20 minutes. Now set the oven to “broil” and cook for 3 more minutes.
- When done, remove the roasted tandoori cauliflower to a serving platter. Garnish with lime wedges and onion rings. Enjoy with chutney as an appetizer or as a side dish.
- This is medium spicy. To reduce the spice level, skip red chili powder and/or reduce quantity of garam masala.
- If you don't have gram flour, you can substitute with all-purpose flour or rice flour.
- Skip the oil if you want to make this oil free. Tandoori Gobi will still taste great.
Note: Nutrition values are my best estimates. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.