Indian Style Cream of Cauliflower Soup


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Weekdays are often so demanding that quick and simple one-pots quickly become about the only dinners for which I can muster any enthusiasm during the long stretch. But that enthusiasm is still conditional on providing a nutritious, balanced and delicious meal, and I've been quite taken lately with the idea of substituting puréed white beans for cream in blended vegetable soups to pack an added punch of proteins, vitamins and minerals.

I've already used this idea to wonderful effect in a cream of potato and turnip soup and a white bean cream of asparagus soup, and another opportunity presented itself this week in the form of a large, round and perfectly snowy-white head of cauliflower that I couldn't resist snatching up at the market. Not that an unblemished cauliflower is needed for this recipe — in fact, it's a good way to use up cauliflower that is beginning to wilt and brown, and I'm thinking very much right now of a close friend who regularly buys cauliflower and leaves it until it has to be cooked in a hurry.

Light Indian spicing lends a warm summery glow to this simple and elegant cauliflower soup suggested by a recipe found in Yamuna Devi's Vegetarian Table. The sweet and mild nutty flavour of split urad dal is a perfect complement to the spices and provides a gentle and delightful contrast with the cauliflower. Although available at any Indian grocer, the urad dal can be replaced with yellow split peas in a pinch — simply soak split peas for at least 4 hours instead.

Indian Style Cream of Cauliflower Soup

1/4 cup brown rice
2/3 cup skinless split
urad dal
1 large cauliflower, trimmed and chopped
2-3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
large handful fresh parsley or coriander, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds


Rinse the brown rice under cold running water and soak overnight in 1 cup of cold fresh water.

Before cooking, thoroughly rinse the urad dal under cold running water and soak for 2 hours covered in several inches of cold water.

Drain the urad dal and add to a large saucepan or soup pot. Add the brown rice with its soaking water and combine with the cauliflower, jalapeños, ginger, ground coriander, turmeric, and most of the fresh parsley or coriander. Pour in 6 cups of water, or 4 cups of water and 2 cups of vegetable stock, and bring to a slow boil over medium-high heat. Turn down the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender. Remove from heat.

Using a hand blender or in batches in a countertop blender, purée the soup until smooth. Season with salt and plenty of fresh ground black pepper.

Heat a stainless steel frying pan over medium heat. When hot, toss in the brown mustard seeds and cover. Once the seeds begin to pop, remove from heat and stir into the soup.

Serve right away, or gently reheat. Serve garnished with the remaining parsley or coriander. Serves 6 to 8.


Audio Accompaniment: Vibrant Forms II - by Fluxion

On the top of the reading stack: Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

22 comments:

Johanna said...

yum - I would love this for dinner - I love the rice in it which is something I don't usually put in puree soups

A_and_N said...

Oh wow, I'm quite amazed with the addition of brown rice like Johanna.

We made something similar- just with Italian flavours and used it as pasta sauce. I love the flavour of cauliflower. So fresh, yet so decadent sometimes.

Curry Leaf said...

Astonishing soup.Never tried urad dal in soups,Love the brown rice and urad combo.Creamy without cream. looks great Lisa

Nithya said...

Soup looks awesome. :)

Suparna said...

am sure it makes a content meal :) looks filling and super creamy!

MeetaK said...

that looks amazingly comforting - thick and hearty. love this lisa!

Priya said...

Looks delicious and gorgeous!

Chitra said...

Looks nice,creamy as u said.very new to me..

A 2 Z Vegetarian Cuisine said...

Looks lovely and very interesting recipe.

natalie said...

This looks delicious, and perfect for fall. Thank you!

dave said...

Cauliflower Soup are most favorite... Those are looks amazing!!

Shri said...

Looks very comforting,Lisa!

Parita said...

Its raining and chilly here..perfect soup , would love to have some right now!

Rachel said...

Yum yum. This flavorful soups sounds perfect for a rainy day.

I sent you an email submission for Tinned Tomatoes and hope that you received it.

eatme_delicious said...

While I love creamy soups made with cream, creamy soups made with beans are also really delicious and much healthier! And I love cauliflower. I love the way the soup looks swirled in the bowl!

Indhu said...

yumm... I think I will make one version without cauliflower as I am not too fond of it... maybe with potato...

Astra Libris said...

I love the idea of a cauliflower soup! Such a gorgeous alternative to cream of broccoli soup! I love using creamed white beans as healthful alternative to cream, and it sounds so wonderful with the culiflower!

Soma said...

I am seeing so many cauliflower soup, I have never made one before. Lisa your ingredients combined are so unique here. looks like a wholesome bowl of comfort.

Ricki said...

I tend to make the same cauliflower soup over and over. . . this looks like such a welcome departure from my usual! Will give it a try--thanks!

iRaw said...

Your soup looks delicious! I can't wait for colder weather...soup is perfect.

Jacqueline said...

That looks deliciously creamy Lisa!

Gattina said...

with brown rice and split dal, I can imagine the beautiful texture and nutty flavor in the soup!
I use califlower a lot too, it is so cheap and delicious!