Spiced Cauliflower Soup

spicycaulisoup1.jpg 

It occurred to me yesterday that the last three food posts on this blog have all been desserts.  Is this my chocolate withdrawal talking?  Well, maybe so, but that means a contrapuntal savory dish must make its appearance today.  No; more than just savory–we need something spicy.  No; more than just spicy; we need something SPICE-EEEE!  Aye, Carumba!! And I have just the thing. . . .

One of the aspects of blogging I love is reading about others writers’ food adventures.  By reading food blogs, you can vicariously cook and eat almost anything, without lifting so much as a measuring spoon. Another great byproduct is how blogging encourages you to try cooking something new almost daily, stretching your culinary muscles and gustatory acumen. Would I naturally think to peruse my cookbooks in search of a novel pasta dish every week?  Not likely.  Would I ordinarily wax poetic about rice pudding in any other context?  Negative.  Would I customarily resurrect old standards that I haven’t thought about in years?  Certainly not. And yet, today, that’s exactly what I’ve done!

When I read about this month’s No Croutons Required challenge hosted by Holler at Tinned Tomatoes and Lisa at Lisa’s Kitchen, I immediately decided to rummage through my old recipes to locate this particular soup. Back when we were first together, the HH and I would devour this soup at least once a week for several months at a time.  In those days, the HH pounced at the opportunity to share dinner prep (what we won’t do in the first flush of a new relationship!).  At that time, we cooked together almost every evening. These days, on the other hand, after the HH arrives home from work and we’ve walked  The Girls  we often embark on a game of verbal ping-pong:

Me: “What should we do for dinner?” (Subtext: I don’t really feel like doing anything for dinner.)

HH: “I dunno.  Um, did you cook anything yet?” (Subtext: What the heck were you doing here all day?”)

Me: “No.  I was waiting for you to get home from work before deciding.” (Subtext: I’ll be damned if I lift so much as a finger without your help, buster! Just because I work at home doesn’t mean I don’t work hard, too, you know. I’d appreciate just a little acknowledgement of what I do, if you don’t mind.)

HH: “Hmm.  How about pizza?” (Subtext: I am lazy and don’t feel like cooking.)

Me: “You know I don’t eat pizza!” (Subtext: How could you forget that I don’t eat wheat, or cheese, or sugar-laden pizza sauce??? Don’t you pay attention to what’s been going on here for the past eight years?  Don’t you ever notice what I do or do not eat??  Don’t you ever think of anyone besides YOURSELF??  Oh, I see what’s going on here. I see now how little you appreciate me.  Oh, don’t try to deny it.  It’s clear that you’ve never really cared for me!  You’ve never really loved me at all!  Otherwise how could you even suggest–)

HH: “Are you sure?  Well, okay, sweetie, if that’s what you want, that’s fine with me. (Subtext: Great. I really would prefer to go out.  Man, she’s the greatest.  Man,  I love this woman. )

Okay, maybe that wasn’t exactly our daily conversation, but we did go out to dinner a lot in those days.  

These days, on a slightly tighter budget after my two years away from work, we tend to throw together something quick and easy, or something I’ve come across in search of blog recipes.  The HH plays sous-chef and chops or slices according to my directives.  He sets the table and plays with The Girls while the dish finishes cooking.  And gee, he doesn’t even mind waiting for me to photograph our daily dinners.  (Man, he really is the greatest.  Man, I love that guy!)

Okay, sappy interlude is now over. Back to the soup.

This is one of the first Indian recipes I ever tried, shortly after I went off wheat, eggs, dairy, etc..  I discovered fairly quickly that my dietary restrictions could be met easily in Asian restaurants, primarily Indian or Thai.  As we visited one after the other restaurant in our neighbourhood, I also quickly discovered that I adored Indian food–and that I wanted to learn how to make it myself. 

This soup comes from the first Indian cookbook I bought, The New Indian Cooking Course, by Manisha Kanani and Shehzad Husain.  It is incredibly easy, quick, and delicious.  Not overpowering, there’s still enough zing in the soup to imprint its spicy tingle on your tongue after the bowl is emptied–perfect for the No Croutons Required event. 

(PS  I’ve finally posted a photo for another fantastic spicy soup, the Moroccan Tomato Soup that I wrote about back in December (and which the HH and I enjoyed again recently).  If you like spice, head on over and take a look! )

Spiced Cauliflower Soup

Adapted From The New Indian Cooking Course

spicycaulisoup2.jpg

This soup is a great way to incorporate cauliflower, a vegetable that isn’t particularly exciting on its own. For a more powerful spice, increase the amount of ginger and cumin accordingly.  

1 large onion, chopped

3-4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 Tbsp. (30 ml.) extra virgin olive oil

1 large potato, diced

1 small cauliflower, chopped

1/2 cup water

1 Tbsp. (15 ml.) grated ginger root

2 tsp. (10 ml.) ground turmeric

1 tsp. (5 ml.) ground cumin

1 tsp. (5 ml.) black mustard seeds

2 tsp. (10 ml.) ground coriander

4 cups (1 liter) vegetable stock

1 cup  (250 ml.) or more, to taste, unsweetened soymilk

salt and pepper to taste

fresh cilantro for garnish, if desired

Heat the oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic, and sauté until the onion is translucent.  Add the potato and cauliflower with the water; cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add the ginger and spices.  Stir well, and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in the stock and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, until all the vegetables are soft. Stir in the soymilk.

In a blender, puree the soup in batches until smooth.  (If your blender does not have a glass bowl, allow the soup to cool a bit first).  Return to the pot and reheat just until heated through, about 5 minutes.  Serve immediately.  Garnish with cilantro if desired.

Make 4-6 servings.  Freezes well.

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Comments

  1. How funny that, on the same day, you discover you’ve been blogging about too MANY desserts and I discover that I need to blog MORE about desserts!

  2. I love blogging for the same reasons you do and it has finally cured me from my addiction to buy new cookbooks. Although I must confess that blogging is my newest addiction.

    Your soup has such a bright colour, it looks and sounds very tasty indeed!

  3. Choccoveredvegan,
    Well, in reality, I don’t think anyone can blog about too MANY desserts. . . but I guess I thought it was time for a temporary reprieve! Now I’m off to check out what dessert you wrote about!

    Mihl,
    Thanks for visiting, and thanks so much for your comment! I can certainly understand blogging as an addiction of sorts (it may be what’s replaced my chocolate addiction for now). The soup is an old standard in our house–hope you like it!

  4. Haha, one can NEVER mention chocolate too much either!

  5. I loooooove cauliflower and I loooove Indian spices. You just made my day!

    I can’t wait to try it.

  6. Haha, well as you can see on MY blog, there are QUITE a few dessert posts ;0)

    Mmm, spiced cauliflower soup sounds incredible! I love spice and cauliflower, so what’s not to love in that soup? Yum!

  7. Courtney says:

    Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables, and I am always looking for new ways to cook/eat it–this looks great! And as we are having a little snow storm right now, it is still very much soup weather where I am, so even better!

    Courtney

  8. I love your photos of the soup – even wondered if the parsley was masquerading as st pat’s day shamrocks? and I love a soup with cauliflower in it!

    Love all your reflections on how blogging changes your cooking – so it is not just me who finds myself cooking all manner of things I never ever would if I was not a blogger. I also have to say I am jealous of you having a sous-chef – I just have a one man audience to please!

  9. Yum, just wanna say that using silk plain soymilk, and making it as six servings, its just 135 calories per serving. (‘course this depends a good bit on your potato size!)

    Definately making this soon! I think I’ll up the cauliflower and down the potato, only because when I have soups its mostly to get some liquid in me before I do my real eating, and not so much for sustenance!

  10. CCVegan,
    Well, your particular take on chocolate today was definitely of the “never enough” variety! ;)

    Lizzie,
    So happy to oblige :). Let me know how you like it if you do try it out!

    VeggieGirl,

    You? Desserts??? Funny, I never noticed. . . ;) ! Well, for a change, the soup is nice (though no carob–sniff).

    Courtney,
    I do sympathize re: snowstorm (where are you located, anyway? I thought we had the worst weather in North America right here in Toronto this winter!). Hope the soup takes the chill off a bit.

    Johanna,
    I never thought about the shamrock until you mentioned it! I wasn’t even consciously boycotting St. Patrick’s Day, or anything–just don’t make much of it in our house. As to blogging, yes, it does seem to elicit all kinds of kitchen experiments, doesn’t it? I guess I am lucky to have my HH as sous-chef, though he rarely cooks anything on his own. But splitting chores at home is very nice.

    Amanda,

    Thank you so much for this nutritional analysis! I am thrilled to find out that the calorie count is so low–more soup for me! The potato doesn’t really stand out in the soup too much–I think it’s used to create a creamy texture without actual cream. Let me know how it turns out if you do try it!

  11. This looks great! I generally add roasted bell peppers to my cauliflower soup; gives it a smoky richness:)

    btw, I’d like to invite you to participate in the WBB-Balanced Breakfasts event I’m hosting on my blog this month…your recipes would be a great addition to the theme!

  12. Your soup looks fabulous! I adore anything with cauliflower, and especially Indian spiced dishes.

    This is my first visit here and I love your blog. I am vegan and try to be gluten free and soy free as well, to feel my best.

  13. Mansi,
    Thanks so much for your comment, and for visiting the blog! I think the bell peppers would be a super addition to this soup. RE: WWB, I’ve had the event bookmarked for a while and made my dish a few days ago–just need to find time to write it up! :)

    ATxVegn,
    Thanks so much for visiting, and for your comment! Welcome to the blog. Even though I do eat soy and some gluten, I think you’ll still find lots on the blog that you can eat :) .

  14. As you know, not only am I a big fan of spice, Indian food is my favorite cuisine. As I don’t consume unfermented soya products, I would use coconut milk. Great entry! Thanks for participating in our event. I hope you will join us next month too.

  15. Mmmm, it looks so hearty and tummy-warming!

  16. Mmmm, it looks so hearty and tummy-warming!

  17. I recognise that conversation from similar ones with my other half :-) Spot on!

    Lovely soup – a beautiful colour to combat the grey days and spices to warm up the belly.

  18. This looks amazing! So creamy. And I love the dish you have it in.

  19. I just made your soup for lunch. It was so delicious! My husband ate 2 bowls of it and just kept talking about how much he loved it!

    Thanks for posting it!

  20. A cauliflower in the fridge and a Google search for cauliflower soup lead me to your blog. This soup is very tasty. I have to admit to adding a sprinkle of chilli flakes too. I wonder how it would be with some yoghurt instead of the milk? Perhaps I’ll try that sometime. Thanks for the recipe.

  21. I just made this soup and it turned out great – I used regular milk and double the pepper. By the way, I’m Indian and this is not something we traditionally make, but I loved it all the same.

  22. Thanks for sharing this one, I made this and it was great! I hope you don’t mind that I reposted the recipe.

  23. I’m just about to make this! The wonders of google sending me straight to your page!

  24. Kym Mulvey says:

    Yum- thanks for the inspiration! I added fennel seeds and chili flakes, used some soy cream cheese in place of the soy milk- very popular with the family. Will be passing it on to friends!

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