Rice and Cauliflower Pilaf (Gobi Pulau)

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Rice and Cauliflower Pilaf

The only drawback to making this dish is the effort it takes to resist eating the curried cauliflower before it mingles with the rice. Honestly, you could stop after the first step, but for a satisfying grain and vegetable component to your meal, keep going and serve with a legume dish, such as tender chickpeas in golden karhi sauce. I have found this is a very good choice to serve to dinner guests.

Rice and Cauliflower Pilaf

Rice and Cauliflower Pilaf (Gobi Pulau)Rice and Cauliflower Pilaf (Gobi Pulau)
Recipe by
Adapted from Lord Krishna's Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking
Cuisine: Indian
Published on March 7, 2008

An extraordinarily beautiful, fragrant and delicious dish of tender pieces of cauliflower simmered in a lightly spiced yogurt sauce and cooked with buttery white basmati rice

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  • 1/3 cup fresh or dried grated unsweetened coconut
  • small handful of fresh green chilies, seeded and minced
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated or minced (1 tablespoon)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley or cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons ghee, butter or oil
  • 1 small head of cauliflower, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup white basmati rice
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons ghee, butter or oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 2 black cardamom pods, slightly crushed
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • lemon or lime wedges for garnish (optional)
  • Rinse the rice thorougly and soak in 1 3/4 cups of water for 20 to 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the water, and let the rice air dry in the strainer for 10 minutes or longer, tossing the grains occasionally.

  • To make the cauliflower, combine the coconut, green chilies, ginger, parsley or cilantro and yogurt in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the turmeric, salt and pepper.

  • Heat the ghee, butter or oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the cauliflower and stir for about 5 minutes or until the cauliflower begins to brown slightly. Pour in the yogurt mixture and stir well. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook until the cauliflower is just tender. Transfer to a small bowl.

  • To make the rice, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the ghee, butter or oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the bay leaf, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and cardamom pods and stir for 30 to 60 secondsor until the mustard seeds turn gray and begin to splutter and pop. Immediately add the rice and stir for 2 minutes, making sure to coat the grains with the oil.

  • Now pour in the reserved soaking water and sugar, raise the heat, and bring to a full boil. Stir in the cauliflower, reduce the heat to very low, cover, and simmer gently, undisturbed, for 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.

  • Remove from heat and let the rice stand for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ghee, butter or oil, and fluff with a fork.

  • Serve hot garnished with lemon or lime wedges if desired.

Makes 6 to 8 side servings
Rice and Cauliflower Pilaf


thepowerguides said...

Sounds yummy not a vegetarian but still like vegetarian dishes sometimes including vegetable curry will give it a try


test it comm said...

Curried cauliflower with coconut sounds really good!

Johanna GGG said...

I love the idea of this colourful fragrant vegetabley rice - must try it with a curry sometime soon

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

This sounds heavenly Lisa:D I love a nice flavourful rice:D

Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa,

Do you think I can use dessicated coconut instead?


Susan said...

How I adore a spiced cauliflower dish. This looks fantastic!

[BTW, I am now working on a spicy soup for NCR. It will be my next post. ; ) ]

Lisa Turner said...


Yup, you can use dessicated coconut.


Very much looking forward to your soup!

eatme_delicious said...

Ah this looks really good too! And so does those feta and black olive muffins. Mmmm.

Deeba PAB said...

You've done Indian cooking proud Lisa! I've been to the Hare Krishna website a couple of times looking for pickle & preserve recipes. This is the first I've heard of gobhi pulao...very nice indeed!