Happy carbs make for happy people! Wouldn’t you agree?
In a word association game – my first response to soup would be hot and I mean scalding hot. That’s just what soup has always meant to me – a winter meal to help soothe throats and build an appetite for the meal to follow. But now, as a grown up (almost!), soup is often THE MEAL, irrespective of the season.
Cauliflower – from sabzi to soup
One vegetable that is extremely diverse is the humble white cauliflower. In Indian cooking it is cooked as fritters that we call pakoras – spicy, hot snacks perfect for rainy days; or as one of the courses in a meal – often cooked with potatoes or assorted mixed vegetables. Making a soup with cauliflower seemed like an obvious step to expand my repertoire. And the internet helped validate my thoughts! This is why kitchenpostcards as a blog exists – to share our experiences of cooking and to give back to the community of food bloggers helping homecooks across the globe.
So here goes – a soup that is tasty, cold and hot.
Prep time ~ 45 minutes
Inactive: 15 minutes, Active: 20-30 minutes
Part 1: Roasting the cauliflower
1 medium-sized cauliflower crown,
1 tsp cumin powder,
1 tsp each of salt, pepper and red chilli powder (replace with paprika for a less spice),
2 tbsp olive oil.
OPTIONAL Spices- 1/2 tsp each of garlic and ginger powder.
Part 2: Cooking the soup
1 tbsp olive oil,
1 medium-sized cooking onion (I used yellow, red would be fine too),
2-3 celery sticks chopped,
2 cups low sodium chicken broth (replace with vegetable stock for vegetarian option),
**Salt and pepper to taste (if needed),
3-4 sprigs of cilantro and
10-12 cashew nuts for garnishing.
See note for adjustments.
This soup recipe can be broken down into two parts. One for roasting cauliflower and the next to cook everything together in a pot for the final soup. Steps below correspond with sections in the ingredients list.
Part 1 Roasting cauliflower:
First, preheat oven to 400 F. Then, wash and clean one medium-sized cauliflower head. Pat it dry and cut it into even sized pieces. You’ll get mini-florets.
Transfer to a large bowl and sprinkle cumin powder, red chilli powder and salt and pepper. If you are keen on adding more spices – use ginger and garlic powder. These will add a layer of flavor. Then drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil and mix well. You can use your hands, tongs, salad spoons or cover the bowl with a plate and shake it well. Let this sit while you finish prepping remainder of the ingredients.
Once the oven is ready transfer marinated cauliflower to a baking tray that has been coated with a bit of oil to prevent sticking. I often use my cast iron pizza plate as a baking dish replacement. Bake at 400 F for 10-15 minutes. Turn half way through and check for color. Once cauliflower starts browning, turn off the oven and remove.
For the soup:
Take 2-3 medium-sized celery sticks and wash them. Then cube them discarding the ends.
Slice 1 medium-sized onion. Based on your preference you could use red or sweet vidalia onion for this soup. Both will be sweet once caramelized – vidalia probably sweeter than red.
Next, put a deep pot on the stove and heat it on medium high. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil (or any of oil of your choice). Add onions and saute them until translucent and beginning to brown. Throw in celery and cook for a few minutes until you can smell the celery and it starts sweating. Finally, transfer roasted cauliflower that has been resting all this while.
Cook this mix for a few minutes and then add 2 cups of low sodium chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Turn off the heat.
All we need to do next is to blend and the soup will be ready to serve. If you have an immersion blender then use it to blend or cool until lukewarm and transfer to the processor jar and puree it.
Since both the broth and cauliflower already have salt, I tend to wait until the end to adjust salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves and a few pieces of cashew nuts.
Note: Cashew nuts can also be used as a part of the soup. You can roast and blend about a 1/4 cup along with cauliflower and celery.
Additionally, if you do not like a very thick soup – use stock (chicken/vegetable) or milk to adjust for consistency.