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Recipe: Roopali Mohanti's Gobi Musallam

July 21, 2023 12:24 IST
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Roopali Mohanti's Gobi Musallam requires a whole cauliflower and has a flavourful yoghurt-based gravy. 

A recipe courtesy her family friend Arshi, it goes beautifully with a vegetable pulav and Roopali's Green Mutton Curry

This author of Servings: Simple Yet Exotic is a hotel management graduate, who has worked with a leading hotel chain. Post motherhood she chose the role of a homemaker. 

Her father was in the Indian Navy, which allowed her mom to keep acquiring new recipes wherever the family travelled, and Roopali's thick volume of recipes brings together all she learnt from her mother and her experiments in the kitchen.  

Read more about Roopali in Part I of this feature: 'Introduction to regional food at an early age was a gift from the partly-nomadic life we led' 

Arshi's Gobi Musallam

Serves: 4


  • 750 gm cauliflower, remove the leaves
  • ½ tsp jeera or cumin seeds 
  • 125 gm paneer, mashed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • ¼ tsp haldi or turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • ¼ tsp red chilly powder
  • ½ tsp garam masala powder
  • 40 gm raisins
  • 40 gm cashews
  • Salt to taste, around ¾ tsp
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • Water

For the gravy

  • 250 gm onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • ½ tbsp oil 
  • lavang or clove
  • 2 green elaichi or cardamom
  • ½ tbsp khus khus or poppy seeds
  • ½ tsp ginger paste
  • ½ tsp garlic paste
  • ¾ tsp Kashmiri chilly powder 
  • ½ tsp red chilly powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 125 ml yoghurt, whipped
  • 2 tbsp sliced and fried onions
  • Salt to taste, around ¾ to 1 tsp
  • 75 ml + 175 ml water


  • Soak the whole cauliflower in boiling water with ¼ tsp of the salt for 5 minutes.
    Keep aside.
  • Heat the ghee in a kadhai or frying pan lightly and fry the raisins and cashews.
    Keep aside.
    In the same pan, add the cumin seeds and fry for a few seconds.
    Add the ginger, garlic paste, chopped onions.
    Saute with a little salt until translucent.
    Add the turmeric powder and the red chilly powder.
    Cook for 5 minutes.
    Add the mashed paneer, salt and mix well.
    Add the garam masala powder and the remaining salt.
    To this mixture, add the fried raisins and cashews.
    Take off heat.
  • Stuff the boiled cauliflower with the paneer mixture, when it cools, from the stem side, making insertions if needed.
    Keep aside.

For the gravy

  • In a mixer, grind the chopped onions to a paste.
    Keep aside.
  • Soak the poppy seeds in water for 30 minutes.
    Strain and grind to a paste.
    Keep aside.
  • Heat the ghee and oil in a heavy-bottomed kadhai or saucepan.
    Add the whole spices and let them crackle.
    Add the onion paste, let it sweat a little and then add the ginger–garlic paste and cook.
    Add the poppy seed paste and cook.
    Add all the spice powders and a little salt.
    Cook over low heat for 45 minutes until the onions are brown and the oil separates. 
    Add the whipped yoghurt and cook for another 15 minutes.
    Add 75 ml water and cook until the gravy is done.
    Place the stuffed cauliflower in the gravy.
    Add 175 ml water gradually.
    Cover the pot with a lid and cook the cauliflower.
    Keep turning it over occasionally so it cooks evenly.
    Prick the stem and check if cooked.
    Once done, take off heat, garnish with the fried onions and serve.

Editor's Note: Vegans can substitute ghee with cashew butter.

For a Jain version of this recipe, skip the onions and the garlic used in the stuffing and the gravy, and replace the ginger in the cauliflower stuffing with 1 tsp saunth or dried ginger and in the gravy with a pinch or 2 of saunth.

Excerpted from Servings: Simple Yet Exotic by Roopali Mohanti with the kind permission of the publishers Rupa Publications India.

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