Crispy Cauliflower Bites with Indian Spices (2 Ways)
Crispy Cauliflower Bites with Indian Spices are the perfect combination of crispy texture and aromatic spices. Plus, we’ve got you covered with two cooking methods – baked and air-fried, two healthy methods.
These can be used as a snack, side dish, tapas or appetizer and are suitable for the whole family since they are mildly spiced. The spice mix doesn’t contain any hot pepper, but if you dig spicy, go ahead and add a bit of your favourite hot pepper to the mix. This version of Crispy Cauliflower Bites was made to please the whole family, meaning toddlers can have it too.
Indian food often requires marinating the meat in yogurt; in this case, our ‘piece de resistance’ is Cauliflower, but the yogurt will help keep the veggie moist and help distribute the spices all over. My friend is a brilliant Indian cook, and she made me a homemade Garam Masala spice mix! The perfect gift! Her version, softer for the sake of my kids, smells divine, and to make it shine, I thought the best protagonist would be Cauliflower. So here it is!
Garam Masala (Spice-Mix)
Knowing not everyone has Garam Masala mix for this recipe, I’ll try to provide a few variations of spices. In India, the famous mix differs from house to house; this set of spices is customized to your taste. If you don’t dig or have one ingredient, skip it. But basically, these are the spices used in my version of Garam Masala: cumin, black pepper, cinnamon, green and black cardamom, mace, long pepper, nutmeg, clove, dried coriander and black cumin. I know… it’s a lot!
On top of that, they mostly use wet aromatics like hot pepper, garlic, ginger and turmeric. But do not worry; you can get a lovely result using a few of them solely; for instance, omitting the mace and long pepper wouldn’t affect you too much. You can usually buy an already-made version of Garam Masala in Supermarkets and specialized stores or even online (Check the link here).
Air Fryer vs. Baking
You get sensibly the same result in both methods, depending on the size of the batch you are making. The Air fryer does a faster job, half the time than the oven, but it doesn’t have the space for so many florets. So you’ll have to make two batches. Basically, you’ll get the exact same result and the same crunch both ways. In both cases, a light olive oil spray helps make the panko extra crispy and gives a light golden finish to the cauliflower. So no method is the winner for this recipe.
I did use the common curry powder they sell in every supermarket to give colour and extra ginger and turmeric taste to the florets. Also, add a touch of garlic powder, which fresh garlic could easily replace. If you don’t have all those spices, use what you have; even the simple curry powder mix would be sufficient. You won’t get the whole dimension, but I bet just garlic would make a nice bite too, or nothing at all. So don’t worry too much about the spice mix; go ahead with what you know and use daily.
Yellow curry paste or Tandoori marinade could also replace the whole set of spices and would turn out fantastic too. Also, if you dig some heat, add Cayenne pepper or spicy paprika to the mix; the authentic Indian hot pepper would be the Kashmir hot pepper.
The dip is a simple Indian dip called Raïta made with Greek yogurt, cilantro, garlic and salt. The usual one would be made of mint, but I personally prefer cilantro. The sauce can be made on the spot or ahead of time, even better to gain flavour.
Can I use normal breadcrumbs instead of panko?
Of course, it will be a tad less crunchy, that’s all.
Can I use an Egg Wash instead of yogurt?
Yes, if you want a lactose-free version, an egg wash bath for the cauliflower would do, but they won’t stay as moist as with yogurt.
Can I use other veggies or meat for this recipe?
I bet it would be delicious with chicken, broccoli and carrots, although not tested.
Other Air Fried Bites Ideas
- 1 Cauliflower cut into big florets
- 200 ml Greek or Plain Yogurt
- 100 g Panko
- 1 tbsp Garam Masala
- 1 tsp Curry Powder
- 1 tsp Olive Oil Spray optional
- ½ tsp Garlic Powder or fresh
- ½ tsp Spicy Paprika cayenne or kashmir *optional
The Yogurt-Cilantro Sauce
- 200 ml Greek yogurt Creme Fraiche or sour cream
- 1 hand Fresh Cilantro Leaves or mint *finely chopped
- ½ tsp Garlic Clove finely chopped
- Salt and Pepper
- Cut the cauliflower into bif florets and add to a big bowl with the yogurt and all the spices.
- Cover and shake until well mixed.
- Let it marinate 30 minutes.
- Make the dip by cutting finely the cilantro and garlic and mixing it well into the Greek Yogurt. Let it rest covered in the fridge.
- Cover each floret with panko, spray lightly with oil and add to baking sheet covered rack or air fryer.
- AIR FRYER: Cook 10 minutes at 200°C (400F°).OVEN: Cook 20 minutes at 200°C (400F°).