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Cauliflower Salad with Thokku

I love pickles, those concenrated flavour bombs. Why buy a salad dressing when you have a range of pickles at home? Here, I have used some homemade tomato thokku to marinate a kickass cauliflower salad!
Course Salad
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Author Arch


For the thokku roasted cauliflower

  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 tbsp rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice (if necessary)
  • 2 tbsp tomato thokku (I used homemade tomato thokku that is not very spicy, but is tangy. Adjust chilli and lemon based on what thokku you are using)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (if necessary)
  • 2 tbsp oil

For salad

  • 1/4 cup thickly sliced onions
  • 1/4 cup thickly sliced bellpeppers (or the sweet chillies we get in summers work too)
  • 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes (if using regular tomaotes, deseed and chop into large quarters)
  • 1/4 cup steamed broccoli/beans (optional)
  • 2 sprigs mint leaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper


Prep Work

  • Blanch the cauliflower florets. I prefer to do this in a microwave. To a large bowl, add the florets, 2 tbsp water to a covered bowl and microwave on high for 3-4 minutes. It should be fork tender.
  • You can also do this by adding it to a pot to boiling water and keeping it covered for 4-5 minutes, with the heat turned low. This step cuts down the cooking time in oven, so I'd highly recommend doing it.
  • In a large bowl, add the rice flour, turmeric, red chilli powder, half the oil ( 1 tbsp) and mix well to breadcrumb consistency.
  • Drain any water off the cauliflower and add it to the flour mix. Now, add thokku of your choice and mix well (ideally using your hands, so it gets into the corners of the cauliflower)

Roasting Cauliflower

  • In a greased baking sheet, spread the cauliflower pieces and add 1 tbsp oil coating it evenly.
  • Bake at 200C for 20 minutes. Around half time, remove the tray and toss the florets around so it browns evenly.
  • Each oven is different, so keep an eye and remove when it's well roasted and brown in some parts. Mine takes 20-25 minutes usually.

Assembling the salad

  • Mix all the vegetables you are using with salt and pepper.
  • Top with roasted cauliflower and mint leaves
  • Serve over a bed of spinach, and top with mixed seeds if you like it.


If you are using a different thokku, ensure you balance the tang and spice appropriately. For a very spicy pickle, leave out the red chilli powder in the recipe and for a very tangy pickle, leave out the lemon juice and add a teaspoon of honey/sugar.
I'd recommend a thokku than a pickle for this recipe because the texture is usually homogeneous and will blend well into a marinade.