cauliflower soup

cauliflower soup

Last weekend at the farmer’s market I was seduced by a pile of gorgeous cauliflower at one of the booths. I wasn’t at all sure what I wanted to do with it, so when I got it home I opened the first book I think of when looking for interesting and unusual uses for fresh produce: Moro East. I lit on a recipe for cauliflower soup with cumin and coconut milk, and was instantly sold.


I seldom make pureed soups, but really like them when I do. I simplified the recipe a bit as I went, and liked it so much I wouldn’t make it any differently next time, although it might be even better if you followed the cookbook exactly – especially the caramelised chile butter with pine nuts drizzled on at the end. As it was, I loved the smooth texture, the quiet spices, and the hint of coconut peeking out from the cauliflower. I ate a bowl of it, sprinkled with smoked paprika, while waiting for the rest of dinner to cook, then ended up pouring spoonfuls of it over a pita stuffed with beef kebabs and spiced eggplant, as if it were tzatziki sauce. Fabulous.

Cauliflower Soup with Cumin and Coconut Milk

adapted from Moro East by Sam & Sam Clark

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil and/or butter
  • 1 large onion (I used a Walla Walla Sweet), chopped
  • 1 large cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tsp cumin seed
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • salt

optional garnish: brown butter with smoked paprika, and pine nuts browned in olive oil (I just added paprika, minus the butter)

Saute the onion slowly in olive oil or butter (or a mix) in a soup pot until soft and golden, 20-30 minutes. Add cumin seed, cinnamon and garlic and cook a minute more, then add the cauliflower and stir it up well. Add a splash of water, cover and steam for 15-20 minutes, until the cauliflower has softened. Take the cover off and mash the cauliflower with a spoon or potato masher, continuing to cook if it’s not quite soft (add more water if it dries out). Pour in the broth and coconut milk, bring to a simmer and cook ten minutes or so. Salt to taste. Turn off the heat, then use an immersion blender to puree the soup smooth (I would recommend not trying this in a countertop blender, unless you want scalding cauliflower soup all over your kitchen). Check for seasoning, then serve.


8 thoughts on “cauliflower soup

  1. Cauliflower is so underrated, and though it’s a favorite of mine (roasted with cumin and curry powder; sauteed with delhi saag), I often pass it over in the produce aisle — embarrassingly! — because it’s so darned bulky to carry home. For shame.

    This, however, inspires me to pick up a fresh head next trip to the market. It sounds like just what the doctor ordered this weekend.

    1. Cauliflower roasted with cumin is one of my very favorites! But this was a great way to branch out. Oh, and it turns out that it’s really good cold, too.

  2. Thanks
    You said about the onion: …. until soft and golden, 20-30 minutes.

    You mean 2-3 minutes, or 20-30 !!

    1. Yes, I do mean 20-30. Just a few minutes might be enough to soften the onion (and you can certainly do it that way if you like), but here you really want them caramelised – very soft and sweet. They don’t have to be stirred constantly – use a heavy pan, set the heat to medium low and stir every few minutes. It makes a huge difference in the taste and texture to cook them this long!

  3. This is a distinctive and delicious soup, which I served warm with quesadillas. I steamed the cauliflower separately and added with the broth and coconut milk.

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