Tree of Life (Fried Cauliflower Tree on a Bed of Gravy)



Those of you, who are regular at watching the TV program ‘MasterChef India’, must be familiar with Chef Vikas Khanna. Though I don’t follow the program much, I have heard a lot about him and his signature dish, ‘The Tree of Life’. My search for the recipe landed me at Martha Stewart’s site, but I wasn’t too excited about it. That was when I decided to try it my way.

After racking my brains a bit, I decided to try it the Achaari way. The intention was to prepare it the same way you would prepare Achaari Baingan. The only difference being, the usage of thehorizontal section of the cauliflower as a single piece instead of the florets. J was pretty impressed with the way I presented the dish. I would like to give full credit to Vikas Khanna for coming up with such an innovative dish. What I did was just to give a little twist of my own. :-).



Tree of Life

Source: Original Idea is of Chef Khanna

Tree of Life (Fried Cauliflower Tree on a Bed of Gravy)


  • Cauliflower cross section (cut inch thickness)

For Marination

  • 1 tablespoon Ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chilli powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Turmeric powder
  • to taste Salt

For the masala

  • 1/4 cup Sliced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon Fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon Fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon Nigella seeds (Kalonji)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon Asafoetida
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chopped green chillies
  • 1/4 teaspoon Turmeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chilli powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dried mango powder (Amchoor)
  • to taste Salt
  • 1/2 cup Beaten Curd
  • 1/4 cup Cream
  • Chopped Coriander leaves for garnish


  • Marinate the cauliflower with the ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, chilli powder, oil and salt. Keep aside for 15 minutes. Heat the oil for deep frying in a pan and fry the cauliflower piece wholly, till golden brown. Drain onto an absorbent paper and keep aside.
  • Heat another pan with 1/2 tablespoon oil. Add the fennel seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, nigella seeds, cumin seeds and asafoetida. When they start to crackle, add the onions followed by ginger-garlic paste and chopped green chillies. Saute till the onions turn translucent.
  • Add the turmeric powder, chilli powder, garam masala, amchoor powder and stir for a minute. Add curd cream and mix well. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • For Presentation -Take a plate and spoon the gravy to the centre of the plate forming a round shape. Carefully place the fried cauliflower tree in the centre. Garnish the way you like. Serve hot with Roti or Rice.


Notes :
For fennel seeds visit�Ingredient's Gallery

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