January 30, 2011

Quick Fix Dinners: Cauliflower and Cumin Soup with Chili Butter

This is a simple (basically just throw the ingredients in a pan and let them cook), smooth (thank you, coconut milk) and flavorful (spices!) soup that we made the other night. The recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks at the moment, Moro East, by a Mediterranean-Middle Eastern inspired restaurant in England.  They focus on really brining out the flavors in food, and their recipes are overall excellent - fresh, bright and colorful. This recipe has been adapted a little to make it more "quick-fix" friendly, but feel free to play around with the flavors in this dish and make it your own. The chili butter in this dish, which you may remember from another post, really brightens it up. Serve it with some warm bread and you have yourself a perfect meal. 

Cauliflower and Cumin Soup with Chili Butter

To bring out the full flavor of the spices, roast them in a dry pan over medium heat for about a minute until fragrant before adding to the onions. 

-6 tablespoons butter
-2 medium onions, chopped
-2 teaspoons cumin
-3 cloves garlic
-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
-1 large head of cauliflower, chopped into medium pieces 
-1 8 oz. can coconut milk 
-1 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water
-1/2 teaspoon chili powder
-2 tablespoons pine nuts (optional), toasted. 

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions, cook for a few minutes, and then add garlic, cumin and cinnamon. Cook for 5 minutes more. Add the cauliflower and salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and let cook for about 15 minutes. 

When the cauliflower starts to soften, add the coconut milk and vegetable stock or water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low. Cook for another 15 minutes until the cauliflower is cooked through. Put in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add more stock or water if it is too thick, and season with salt and pepper. 

To prepare chili butter, melt remaining butter in a small saucepan and keep over heat until lightly browned, around 4-5 minutes. Add chili powder and remove from heat. 

To serve, ladle soup into a bowl. Top with chili butter and toasted pine nuts, if using. 

Serves 4-5.


  1. Hi,
    Found you from your post to Mark Bittman (isn't he GREAT?). So glad you're doing what you're doing! Thanks for great recipes.
    I'll direct my nutrition class members to your blog (OK?).
    Just one thought, the 6 TBSP. butter could be cut down to say 3 or 4 TBSP. and if more fat is needed, then some canola, peanut, or even sesame oil could be used (the sesame would actually be lovely in this East Indian dish).
    Happy cooking!
    Mary Farkas
    aka www.eldermuse.net

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