Air Fryer Cauliflower Tikka is one of the easiest evening snack recipes made with cauliflower. It is healthy, low oil and can be prepped in advance for hungry kids and adults!
It is a perfect finger food, vegetarian starter and appetizer when hosting parties, treating family at home on weekends or game nights.
The best part about this recipe is that even though it is a light, low oil appetizer, there is no compromise on taste factor!
The prep work hardly takes 10 minutes and the marination process just 30 minutes since all the ingredients are readily available in your pantry / refrigerator.
Tikka is an Indian preparation where vegetables (or meat) are marinated and then cooked in a tandoor (traditional clay oven). The food cooked in tandoor has the typical smoky taste and flavour.
Tikka marination is basically yogurt and a range of spices. It is quite simple and the duration for marination depends on the produce. Vegetables or paneer can be marinated for a couple of hours whereas meat requires longer duration.
While having a large tandoor at home is not possible, I either use my electric oven or the most convenient appliance – Air Fryer (especially for a small family like ours)
Ingredients for Cauliflower Tikka
Cauliflower – I have used one head of cauliflower that weighed approximately 700 gms.
In the step by step process below, I have explained the process of cleaning the cauliflower florets, in detail. Please check the same.
If you are using pre-cut frozen florets, this step is not required.
Spices – I have used ginger – garlic paste, chaat masala powder, garam masala powder, kashmiri red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt to taste
Please note chaat masala powder has a rock salt as one of its key ingredients so always keep that in mind before seasoning the dish.
For a no onion-no garlic recipe, simply add ginger paste. For a Jain Version of the recipe, skip the ginger garlic paste entirely.
The combination of kashmiri red chilli powder (can be replaced with smoked paprika) + turmeric powder gives that bright red colour to the tikka. It won’t taste spicy.
Roasted Gram Flour, Chickpea Flour or Besan – This ingredient is gluten free and helps in coating the cauliflower while it is air frying. It is added to most tikka preparations, especially paneer and vegetables.
This ingredient cannot be skipped and roasting is essential to prevent raw taste.
Thick Curd or yogurt – Ensure the yogurt is fresh and thick. I set curd at home and have used the same. You can use store bought curd or any dairy free variety, if looking for a vegan version of the recipe.
We love Cauliflower Tikka because they are low on carbs and high on taste factor! Healthy food can actually taste good, if made the right way.
This recipe is great for anyone who follows a low carb diet and wants to skip the regular bread or rice in the evenings. Let me also add that this is a great way to add vegetables to your diet, in an interesting way.
We enjoy this as our evening snack or early dinner. We often pair this with a tossed salad, coriander chutney and tomato ketchup. Perfect accompaniments for all Indian Starters and appetizers.
How to Make Air Fryer Cauliflower Tikka Recipe
For all Air Fryer preparations, please spray or brush oil in the basket. It prevents the food from sticking.
Always pre-heat your Air Fryer at 200 Degrees Celsius for 5 minutes.
Blanching the Cauliflower – To remove worms etc that are present in nooks and crannies of cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli etc.
The florets chopped and added to the bowl.
Boil water in a kettle or sauce pan. Add the boiling water to the chopped florets and let it remain submerged for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, drain the water, rinse and pat dry with a towel (to avoid excess moisture while marination).
The cauliflower is ready for marination.
Marinating the Cauliflower
In a bowl, add yogurt, all the spices + ginger garlic paste, roasted gram flour or besan and salt to taste Mix well using a whisk.
Now add the cauliflower florets and give it a good mix.
Cover and refrigerate for atleast 1 hour.
Air Frying the Cauliflower
Pre-heat the Air Fryer at 200 Degree Celcius for 5 minutes.
Carefully place the marinated cauliflower pieces in the basket and ensure they do not stick to each other.
Note – it is recommended to air fry in 2 batches.
Air Fry them for 10 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius, turn over, apply or spray some oil and repeat the process for another 3 to 5 minutes.
Note – Tender cauliflower takes less time to cook. Please check while air frying.
Repeat the process of air frying with the 2nd batch and serve the tikka piping hot with accompaniments of your choice.
Note – It took me 20 minutes in 2 batches for a plate full of Cauliflower Tikka. It serves 2 as starters or appetizers.
Ideas to Use Air Fryer Cauliflower Tikka
- We love using the tikka as quick vegetable wraps. Tortilla or Parathas + green chutney or mayo + cauliflower tikka + sliced onions, cabbage. Wrap and eat. Makes a quick lunch or dinner when busy.
- These can also be tucked in a Taco with some coleslaw.
- Tuck them between slices of bread and make a grilled tikka sandwich for kids as evening snacks.
Is Marination Necessary?
30 minutes of marination is ideal since I am just using cauliflowers. If kept longer, it tends to leave a lot of moisture.
However, do not skip the marination process and make this snack immediately. The flavours have to seep through the cauliflower.
Can we re-heat Cauliflower Tikka?
Leftovers can be reheated in the air fryer for a couple of minutes. You can spray some oil or brush butter and enjoy this.
How to prevent the food from sticking to the Air Fryer Basket?
In this case, ensure the yogurt + spices mix is evenly coated and not dripping when placed inside the basket.
Do not apply oil initially. Apply only after 5 minutes of cook time so that it provides moisture and prevents sticking. Do not try to remove / turn the cauliflower pieces before 8 minutes of cook time.
Use thick yogurt for this recipe. If your curd is runny, add an extra tbsp of roasted gram flour. It will help in coating and prevent dripping.
How to Clean the Air Fryer Basket?
Always Clean the basket or atleast wipe it immediately after every single use.
Use some water dipped in lemon juice solution. It helps remove the grease and smell immediately. Wipe and allow it to dry.
You can thoroughly clean the Air Fryer later but follow this method after every use to ensure the stains / oil grease is much easier to clean.
Our Other Air Fryer Snack Recipes
Air Fryer Veg Cutlets – Contains No Cornflour or breadcrumbs
Raw Banana Cutlet – Fasting Recipe
Sabudana Vada (Sago Fritters) – Fasting Recipe
Air Fryer Cauliflower Tikka – Easy Cauliflower Snack Recipe
- Air Fryer
1 cup is 250 ml, 1 tbsp is 15 ml and 1 tsp is 5 ml
- 2 cups Cauliflower Florets (tightly packed) 1 head of cauliflower approximately 700 gms
- 5 cups Water Read Notes below
- 2 tsp Oil
For the Tikka Masala Marination
- ½ cup Thick Curd or Yogurt
- 2 ½ tbsp Roasted Chickpea Flour (Besan)
- 1 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
- 1 tsp Garam Masala Powder
- ½ tsp Chaat Masala Powder
- ½ tsp Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder
- ¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
- Salt to taste
Garnish / Serving
- 1-2 nos Lemon wedges
- Sliced Onions or Onion Rings as required
How to Prep the Cauliflower
- Boil the 5 cups of water, switch off the flame. Soak the cauliflower in the boiling water (covered with lid) for atleast 10 minutes. This is to remove worms, if any.
- After 10 minutes, drain the water, rinse and pat dry the cauliflower florets. Proceed with Marination process.
- In a bowl, add all the ingredients listed under marination and mix well using a whisk.
- Add the cauliflower florets, toss them well so that each floret coats the mixture. Refrigerate for atleast 30 minutes.
Air frying the Cauliflower
- Pre-heat the Air Fryer at 180 Degree Celsius for 5 minutes.
- Spray or brush the Air Fryer basket with oil.
- Carefully place the cauliflower pieces. Note – Do not crowd the basket by placing one above the other.
- Air Fry the Cauliflower tikka at 200 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes. Brush the cauliflower pieces with oil and turn them in between intervals.
- Repeat the process with the remaining cauliflower pieces.
- Serve hot with coriander chutney, ketchup, lemon wedges and onions.
- Always pre-heat your air fryer. It helps faster cooking, less dripping and sticking of the ingredients to the basket.
- The process of soaking and draining the cauliflower florets will not be applicable if you are using pre-cut, frozen florets. Just thaw and marinate.
- The recipe is gluten free and contains no nuts. For a vegan version, opt for dairy free curd.
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