Vegetable jalfrezi


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Lands of the Curry Leaf

Lands of the Curry Leaf

By Peter Kuruvita

Published 2018

  • About

Vegetable jalfrezi is said to have originated in India during the time of the British Raj. Once a creative way to use up leftovers, it has since evolved into a flavourful and texture-rich dish — a popular Indian restaurant menu item. Try this recipe with a mixture of vegies, or highlight just one or two. Either way, vegetable jalfrezi will add a colourful splash to your plate.


  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 375 g (13 oz/3 cups) cauliflower florets
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon rice bran oil
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons crushed garlic
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) tomato sauce, such as the Velvet tomato catsup
  • ½ red capsicum (pepper), chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 75 g ( oz/½ cup) frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon Chaat masala
  • chilli powder, to taste (optional)
  • 1 small tomato, seeded and chopped
  • lemon or lime juice, to taste


Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, and have a bowl of iced water at the ready.

Add the salt and ground turmeric to the pan of boiling water. Add the cauliflower and carrot and boil for 3 minutes. Strain the vegetables, then immediately drop them into the iced water to stop the cooking process. Drain for 1–2 minutes, then set aside.

In a non-stick frying pan, dry-roast the coriander seeds over low heat for about 5 minutes, until they start to dance in the pan, being sure to stir them often so they don’t burn. Tip onto a small plate, leave to cool, then grind using a mortar and pestle. Set aside.

Heat the rice bran oil in the same pan. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 2–3 minutes, or until lightly golden. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for 1 minute. Stir in the tomato sauce and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the oil separates from the sauce.

Stir in the capsicum and peas and cook for 2–3 minutes. Now add the blanched cauliflower and carrots, along with the reserved ground coriander, the garam masala and chilli powder, if using. Mix well, and season to taste with salt.

Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender, but still retain their crunch, sprinkling a little water over them occasionally so that the spices don’t burn.

Stir in the chopped tomato and cook for a final 1–2 minutes. Stir in a splash of lemon or lime juice, to taste.

Serve hot, with rice, roti, chapatti or naan.