Crispy Cauliflower + Homemade Ranch


As a vegetarian, I have no appetite for a food like chicken. However, I’m not crazy. I like food, and I enjoy the enticing smell of fried chicken. I get a little hungry when the Publix fried chicken commercial comes on [let’s be honest– it’s borderline food porn, which you can view here].

It’s tough to find a vegetarian alternative that really satisfies that craving for something crispy and salty and fatty. This cauliflower recipe certainly does the trick!

When it comes to frying foods, I have always been a huge fan of what my husband and I call SBP (aka Standard Breading Procedure). Anytime we decide to fry something it has always been SBP- dredge in flour, soak in egg, coat in bread crumbs or panko.

This recipe uses a different breading technique, one that leaves you with a crunchy, flaky, and deliciously crisp snack. It is even easier, requiring only two bowls and NO raw egg!


I am also adding my recipe for homemade ranch. I always keep a large jar of this in my fridge, and it is really easy to make. It’s also MUCH creamier and fresh-flavored than bottled varieties of ranch.

Crispy Cauliflower + Homemade Ranch


for the cauliflower
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon each: garlic powder and paprika
1/4 teaspoon each: onion powder and turmeric
1 cup buttermilk
1 head of cauliflower
1 cup flour  (+1/4 teaspoon kosher salt)
vegetable oil

for the ranch
(makes about 1 cup of ranch dressing)
1/4 cup each: milk, sour cream, and mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon each: dried parsley, garlic powder, kosher salt, pepper, and Penzey’s mural of flavor*
1/8 teaspoon each: onion powder and dried dill


To make the ranch dressing, whisk all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. You can store this in a large mason jar in the fridge. Feel free to adjust the ratios to your taste! I enjoy the herbal quality that Penzey’s mural of flavor spice blend adds, but it isn’t necessary if you don’t have it already in your kitchen!


For the cauliflower, begin by mixing all the herbs and spices in a large bowl or gallon plastic bag.* Add the buttermilk in and stir thoroughly.

*I used a plastic bread bowl that my grandmother gave to me. It has a top on it, so it is perfect for battering veggies (and rising bread dough).

Next, wash and chop the cauliflower into bite-sized florets. Coat the florets in the buttermilk mixture. I put the lid on the bowl and shook it around, but you can accomplish this with your hands or a spatula. Be sure to generously coat each piece. Then, set this bowl aside, allowing the cauliflower to “marinate”.


Prepare the oil in a small pot, about 2 inches deep, over medium heat.

In a second bowl, combine the flour with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Measure out 3 tablespoons of the buttermilk-spice mixture and blend it into the flour until it has a crumbly texture.

Take each, buttermilk-soaked floret and coat it generously in the crumbly flour mixture.

Test if the oil is ready by dropping a bit of batter into the pot. If it sputters and bubbles, it’s time to fry!

Fry the coated florets in batches, replenishing the oil as needed. Give each batch about five minutes to cook the cauliflower and get golden and crispy! Set them aside to cool and drain on a paper towel.




Serve with ranch as an appetizer, snack, or side. Enjoy!




Vegetarian Malai Kofta

malai kofta


Malai Kofta is pretty much my personal favorite of all Indian dishes. It really has everything you need to create deliciousness (in my opinion). I mean- fried potatoes and cheese with a savory cream sauce… what could be better??

But I won’t lie. This isn’t the easiest dish to make. It took the two of us the better part of an afternoon and evening to make it. The result is worth the time commitment, but it isn’t a dish you can just whip up when you get home from work.

First, you have to make the kofta- boiling potatoes, making paneer (though you can just buy it, if you prefer), and combining the two with spices. You then have to fry the kofta, though we just lightly sautéed them in some safflower oil.

malai kofta


Next, you need to make the cream sauce. This isn’t too difficult, but it takes time- first to cut and prep all the veggies and then to combine and simmer everything.

malai kofta


Something I love about many Indian dishes is that there is liberal usage of cilantro (or hara dhania) in every part of the dish. I am one of those people that cannot get enough cilantro! I put it on everything. It is so fresh tasting to me, and brightens a dish right up (especially a creamy one like this). However, if you’re not the biggest fan, I’d encourage you to decrease the measurements for cilantro in this dish. Use your best judgment and don’t go overboard if you know you don’t love the flavor it brings. Same goes for spiciness- though this dish isn’t really all that spicy. Be careful, and taste everything along the way to make sure it is to your liking!

This recipe is loosely adapted from a recipe found on Pinterest, with the idea that it is hopefully a little healthier without the deep frying! Also, if you are using my recipe for paneer (which you can find here), you’ll have some extra left over. We ended up having just enough to make some paneer/aloo paratha (which is a paneer-potato stuffed flatbread). I will post the recipe for the paratha later (it is SO much fun to make)!

Malai Kofta is traditionally served either over rice or with naan (but I love to have both).

malai kofta


Vegetarian Malai Kofta

(makes about 8 servings, which can be easily frozen for later consumption)



for the kofta
5 butter ball potatoes
2 cups crumbled paneer
5 tablespoons minced cilantro (hara dhania)
1 yellow chile
1 anaheim pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin (jeera)
1 teaspoon kosher salt

for the kofta batter
8 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons tipo 00 flour (AP works fine as well)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
safflower oil for sautéing

malai kofta


for the sauce
4 tomatoes (medium-sized)
2 tablespoons ginger
1 poblano pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 pinches asafetida (you can find this at Whole Foods)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons coriander powder (I accidentally put in whole coriander seeds- do not make this mistake)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
2 teaspoons AP flour
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
5 tablespoons minced cilantro

malai kofta


First, make the kofta. Dice the potatoes and boil them in salted water until a fork slides easily straight through them.

malai kofta


Mash the potatoes in a large bowl, and add the crumbled paneer.

malai kofta


Mince the cilantro and finely chop both peppers.
malai koftamalai kofta







Add the peppers, cilantro, cumin, and salt to the potato paneer mixture.
malai kofta


Mix everything together thoroughly until it forms a kind of mash.

malai kofta


Now, take the mixture (about two tablespoons at a time) and roll it into balls.

malai kofta


You should make about 16 in all, but it isn’t a big deal if you have more or less.
malai kofta


Next, prepare the batter. Whisk together the water, flour, black pepper, and salt. Pour the oil into a skillet until it is about an inch and heat it on medium-high. Taking your time, dip each ball in the batter and fry them in the pan on both sides- just lightly. They should be a golden brown and look very crisp and delicious! [Note: if you are planning to freeze some of these, you should not fry or batter them. Instead, freeze them without the batter and make more batter for the next time you cook the dish. The sauce can be frozen separately and then combined with the koftas upon reheating.]

malai kofta


Now, set the koftas aside to drain on a paper towel and get to work on the sauce!

Dice the tomatoes, and shred the ginger.

malai kofta


Mince the poblano pepper. Combine the tomatoes, the ginger, and the pepper in a food processor or blender and pulse until the mixture has a soupy or salsa-y consistency. Set this aside.

Heat up the olive oil in a skillet, and add the asafetida and cumin. To this, add the tomato puree and coriander powder, mixing everything together.

Shred the turmeric on a cheese grater (be careful with this stuff- it can stain hands, counters, and cutting boards!).

malai kofta

Add the turmeric, and red chili powder to the pan. Let everything simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes.

malai kofta


While the tomato mixture simmers, combine the flour and heavy whipping cream in a bowl. After the tomatoes start reducing, add the cream to the mixture along with the salt, and one cup of water. Let this cook down, partially covered, for about 10 minutes.

malai kofta

Finally, add in the garam masala. Chop the cilantro and add in 4 tablespoons of it (leaving some for a garnish).

malai kofta


Let everything simmer together for a few minutes before adding in the koftas.

malai kofta


The koftas can cook in the gravy for a few minutes, but they are very soft and will break down after soaking up the sauce, so it’s best to serve the dish soon after placing them into the pan.

malai kofta


Serve sauce and koftas over rice or with naan and enjoy!

malai kofta