“Cauliflower is nothing but a cabbage with a college education,” said Mark Twain a long time ago. I find this statement so charming.
As a cruciferous vegetable, cauliflower is excellent for balancing the Earthy/Kapha and the Fiery/Pitta, but it may aggravate the Airy/Vata. Even if you are one of those people who have scratched cauliflower from their shopping list, try this soup. It should cause you no airy problems because it is balanced with fresh almond cream and spices. It is the kind of velvety, comforting, delicious treat you need on a brisk winter day.
I served this soup at the Autism Speaks Celebrity Chef Gala at Cipriani on Wall Street in October 2017. It was a great honor to represent Divya’s Kitchen at this significant fundraising event and to mingle with some of America’s top chefs. Guessing by the empty bowls and happy faces, I think the ten guests at our table loved this recipe!
As with every cruciferous vegetable, this soup does not make good leftovers—try to eat it the same day. Cauliflower’s sulfur compounds produce hydrogen sulfide, which has an offensive odor. Cooking it just until it is soft (and not overcooking it) will bring about the decomposition of these sulfur compounds.
Soak: overnight Serves 4 to 6 Prep: 10 minutes Cook and Finish: 25 to 30 minutes
- 2 tablespoons ghee, sesame oil, or coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 6 curry leaves
- 2 ½ teaspoons Soma Salt
- 1/8 teaspoon asafoetida powder or ¼ teaspoon Hing Ghee
- 1 small cauliflower, cut into 2-inch florets; stems and smaller greens chopped (6 cupsaltogether)
- 2 medium taro roots, peeled and sliced ¼-inch thick (about 1 cup)
- ½ cup raw almonds, soaked overnight in water to cover by a couple inches, drained, and rinsed
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper or to taste
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill or parsley
- Heat the ghee in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the turmeric and toast for 10 seconds, then add the cumin seeds and toast for 5 more seconds. Add the curry leaves, salt, and asafoetida and toast for about 10 more seconds, until the leaves crisp up. Add the cauliflower and taro, stir to mix the vegetables with the spices, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add 5 cups water and bring to a full boil, then cover, reduce the heat, and simmer until the cauliflower and taro are tender, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the almond cream: To peel the soaked almonds easily, cover them with a cup of boiling hot water for 7 seconds (this way the almonds will remain raw). Rinse, drain, and peel the almonds. In a blender, blend them with 2/3 cup water to a smooth cream. Set aside ¼ cup of the cream for garnishing each soup bowl.
- Let the cooked soup sit uncovered for 10 minutes to cool it down a bit, add the pepper, then blend the soup with the remaining almond cream to a chunky or smooth consistency, whatever your preference is, adding more water if necessary. I prefer it smooth, so when you blend it, it looks like delicate custard.
- Reheat the soup until hot. Garnish each bowl with fresh dill and a swirl of almond cream. Serve immediately.