Cauliflower with Spicy Lentil Sauce | Hong Kong Food Blog with Recipes, Cooking Tips mostly of Chinese and Asian styles | Taste Hong Kong

Cauliflower with Spicy Lentil Sauce

Cauliflower with Spicy Lentil Sauce

Rare as lentils sound to our local dishes, supermarkets or grocery stores here in Hong Kong are not showing much enthusiasm in stocking them. Only in a few sizeable or specialty stores, ones selling Indian foods in particular, could I locate this legume. But to me, it is worth searching for.

Although I’m not a vegetarian, I often prepare meatless meals. To supplement our diet with enough nutritions, I like making tofu or soy bean eats, and this protein-rich lentil provides me with another access to variations.

Perhaps I’m not the first one to tell you how beneficial it is to eat lentils. In case I am, you may also want to read these details: in addition to being a good source of protein and an excellent source of soluble fiber and, manganese, iron, phosphorous, copper, vitamin B1 and potassium, lentils are an excellent source of molybdenum, a mineral important in the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and iron (

Ingredients for Cauliflower with Spicy Lentil Sauce

I think I was most inspired by the Indian way of cooking this legume dish to give it a hint of spiciness. However, I did not need to stew the orange lentils for too long because they were pre-soaked and pulverized. The puree quickly built up their tastes when simmered together with a few spices. And the final sauce turned the seemingly drab cauliflower into a vibrant dish full of robust flavors.

It is definitely a good choice to serve this with rice. But equally irresistible is to lick clean the dish with some nice Indian flatbread … like these naan from Kristy at

  • Ingredients
  • 300g cauliflower
  • 4 tbsp orange lentil
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste, dilute it with 1-2 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 salt, or to taste
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • sliced spring onion for garnishing

Pulverized Lentil


Remove any pebbles or discolored members from the lentils. Wash them clean and soak in water for 2 to 3 hours. Discard water (the soaking water then reserved will be free from impurities), soak with another one and a half cup of water overnight.

Pulverize lentils with the soaking water in food processor to form a very thin puree.

Wash cauliflower clean, cut it into bite-sized florets. Drain dry.

Heat oil in a wok or skillet over medium flame, briefly sauté garlic and ginger shallot. Add turmeric powder, curry powder and chili powder. When fragrant, about half to one minute, pour in diluted tomato paste and lentils puree. Stir the mixture regularly while bringing it to a simmer.

Lower heat, keep simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened. I like mine being a bit grainy after simmered for about 7 to 8 minutes. Toss in florets, salt and sugar; stir to coat them evenly with the sauce, and simmer for anther 1 to 2 minutes to reduce the sauce or to reach your desired consistency. Dish up, garnish with green onion if using.

Serve hot. Enjoy!

Cauliflower with Spicy Lentil Dressing

Note: Add more water (and cook longer) before tossing in florets in wok if you want the sauce to be less grainy and simmer the cauliflower longer for more tenderness.

I love the idea in this video – changing our waiting time to shopping time and possibly enabling me to order the lentils with my smart phone!

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  1. tigerfish

    Yay! I enjoy cauliflower cooked this way but I confess I hardly use lentils (though I know it is a healthy and nutritious legume). I usually cook with split peas.

  2. Mei Teng

    Yummy. Reminds me of Indian style cauliflower.

  3. Mary Moh

    A very healthy dish. Love the colour 😀

  4. Angie@Angiesrecipes

    wow I love that red lentil sauce…the cauliflowers must have tasted so good!

  5. TasteHongKong

    Thanks for sharing with me your thoughts.

    @ Mei Teng,
    Yes, I was inspired by the Indian way of cooking this.

    @Mary Moh,
    Thanks! This is also a dish of low Glycaemic Index, which is good for both diabetics and weight watchers.

    Thanks! Yes, the cauliflowers in this dish taste rich and delicious.

  6. noobcook

    meatless meals are great! loving the bright orange sauce, must be very yummy

  7. penny aka jeroxie

    What a lovely way to have lentils. Must try

  8. TasteHongKong


    @penny aka jeroxie,

  9. gaga

    Mmm, I’m always looking for new ways to prepare caulifower. I think I would like this. Thanks for sharing.

  10. TasteHongKong

    Have fun and enjoy!

  11. Chinoiseries

    I love that idea, but am not yet convinced it’ll work outside of Japan (where people are, in my mind, www pioneers). In Holland we’ve got Albert Heijn (a certain supermarket) “To Go” outlets in all the larger train stations. It is possible to purchase many groceries (but in case of veggies and fruit -> pre-cut and packaged) for a premium price. This same supermarket chain also has a webshop that includes most of their physical stores that delivers home. The QR code scanning isn’t yet widely used over here and our mobile internet connections over 3g are very wobbly, especially in transit places. But I bet the Dutch could still learn a lot from this video 🙂

    Also, this cauliflower dish looks wonderful. I was planning to make a cauliflower curry today and now I know which recipe to use! <3

  12. TasteHongKong

    Thanks for sharing the stories in your place, I learned more : ). The introductory part of the video is skipped, therefore you might not have read that the subject virtual store is actually in Seoul, S. Korea.
    Hope you will soon enjoy this dish; you may want to add more curry powder if you like it ‘tasting really a curry’.

  13. Chinoiseries

    Ah, I should’ve paid better attention to the video, Seoul! I really enjoyed this dish, although I have to admit I modified it a lot: indeed added more curry powder mix, plainly cooked the washed red lentils for 15-20 minutes and did not blend the mixture. Then I added the cauliflower to cook along for a little while more. I finished adding a little bit of coconut milk to it, making it a bit more creamy. I was too lazy to make naan so I baked store-bought pitta bread after covering them with a layer of olive oil & grated garlic. Delicious!

  14. Juliana

    Wow, I love the idea of using lentil in this cauliflower dish…so different! Looks so pretty and tasty.
    Hope you have a great week ahead 🙂

  15. Smoky Wok (Jen)

    Love this! At first glance I thought it was sweet and sour pork hehe sounds like an extremely appetising and tasty dish!

  16. Von

    Oh wow! I love the idea in that video! :O :O
    We’ve never cooked with lentils at home- infact, the first time I had lentils was at my friend’s house and her mum made daal for us 😉 I love how you used it in this recipe- it sounds delicious!!

  17. TasteHongKong

    I could see many clever details in your version. Thanks for sharing!

    Thanks! Have a great week too : ).

    @Smoky Wok (Jen),
    Perhaps, I should name this Vegetarian Sweet and Sour Pork, he!

    Probably one day, the idea will land in both our places too : ).

  18. kristy

    Hey, thanks so much for the sound out. Your cauliflower version dish sounds incredible. I have not had anything like this before. Have to give this a try someday. Bookmarked it. Thanks for sharing.
    Hope you’re having a great week ahead, dear.

  19. TasteHongKong

    You are welcome; you too.

  20. Anna

    I am beginning to get more and more intrigued by legumes particularly lentils. I have heard a lot of good benefits from it. Cauliflower on the other hand is a favorite even for my daughter. When I try out something new, I make sure I include a familiar ingredient in the dish, for instance in this case, cauliflower is the familiar component to make the introduction of lentil, not too abrupt. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Sook @ My Fabulous Recipes

    What a fabulous recipe! Love the color of your cauliflower… so beautiful!

  22. TasteHongKong

    You are welcome! Your daughter has made a wise choice too, cauliflower is full of vitamin C.

    @Sook@My Fabulous Recipes,

  23. Lori

    Just look at that color! A variety of lentils are hard to find in our traditional supermarkets, but fortunately I can get all kinds at some health food stores and our Indian markets. I am like you, not a vegetarian, but eat a lot of vegetarian meals. I can’t wait to try this one. I think it will be a favorite in our house.

  24. TasteHongKong

    Wish you enjoy this vegetarian dish as much as I did.

  25. Submit Data

    […] curry of cauliflower and red lentils. With store-bought pita bread glazed with olive oil and garlic. De: pumpkin […]

  26. Arnya

    I was looking through your archive of wonderful recipes and after a couple of days of indulgence needed something healthy for supper. I spotted this recipe and as cauli is one of my favourites I knew I had to try it. My lentils are soaking as I type and I am off to buy a cauli.
    I’ll let you know how it goes.

  27. TasteHongKong

    Always welcome back!

  28. Arnya

    As promised I am reporting back; what a delightful recipe 🙂
    I suspect it will become a firm favourite and make a regular appearance. I am already thinking of other vegetables to use the sauce with.
    Many thanks.

  29. TasteHongKong

    Thanks for your feedback and glad that you find this dish delightful. I suspect that cabbage may be one of the other choices : )!?

  30. Manish Sharma

    I liked the Combination. Will certainly try this out and revert with the feedback.

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