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curried cauliflower soup

Here’s a soup to warm the cockles of your heart.  No idea what I mean by “cockles”, but by soup I mean silky and warm, subtly complex, aromatic spoonfuls. If you think you’re not a fan of cauliflower, but are feeling up for a small culinary adventure, I think you’ll be surprised – the cauliflower just lends itself to the overall  creaminess of this soup and never brags about its starring role (which I respect in a vegetable.)  When we seek a warm refuge from winter’s chill, it’s nice to know we’ve got…..


Curried Cauliflower Soup

(makes about 2 quarts)

3 Tablespoons coconut oil (see NOTE)

1 large yellow onion

2 teaspoon sugar

2 to 3 teaspoon green curry paste

 2 teaspoons (or more) garam masala (see NOTE 2)

¼ teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon cumin powder (or 1¼ t. seeds, dry roasted & ground)

Sea Salt as you go

1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets 

2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed

5 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable stock or broth

1 medium green apple, peeled, pared and chopped

1 can coconut milk

1 fresh lime

 Garnish: ¼ cup plain whole milk yogurt + 3 Tbl. chopped cilantro (+ lime wedges)


Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C) Wash the cauliflower and cut into florets. Melt 1 Tablespoon coconut oil, and drop into a medium-sized bowl along with the cauliflower and a good sprinkle of sea salt. Tumble onto a baking sheet or a roasting pan, sprinkle with a few pinches of the  garam masala and roast until tender and lightly browned.CurriedCauliflowerSoup-5

While the cauliflower is roasting, gently sauté the onion in 2 Tablespoons coconut oil until translucent. Add 2 teaspoons of green curry paste to start. Later you can add another teaspoon if you decide you like the warmth and want more. (I use 3 and don’t find it overly spicy at all.) Add the sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, and the remaining spices and continue sauteing for one minute. Add the cubed potatoes and chopped apple and stir over the heat for another couple minutes.

Add the broth and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer. After 15 minutes, add the roasted cauliflower and continue cooking until the vegetables are very tender.

Remove the pan’s contents in several batches and puree in a blender until completely smooth. (Be careful not to overfill the blender, and put a folded towel on the top to ensure hot contents don’t sputter up.) Return pureed soup to the pot . Check for salt and add to taste. Stir in a can of coconut milk and reheat the soup.  Again check for salt. Squeeze in the juice of one-half lime, and cut the remainder in wedges for serving.

Mix together the yogurt and chopped cilantro. Ladle soup into bowls, put a dollop of the yogurt/cilantro mixture on top, a little sprinkle of cilantro bits for extra color and serve with lime.

{ to print the recipe, click }


NOTE:  Coconut oil comes in a jar, usually in the vegetable oil section at your market. It’s solid at room temperature. It comes in either refined or unrefined form….the unrefined has  more of a coconut aroma and a somewhat lower smoking point than the refined. If you do the research, you’ll find that coconut oil and coconut milk have a variety of healthful properties  I keep both on hand, but like the unrefined for this and most dishes.

NOTE 2:  Garam masala is an Indian spice blend, usually of cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, black peppercorns, cloves and an aromatic Indian leaf called tejpat.  Its ingredients are dry-roasted, then ground.  It’s quite wonderful!  I’ve found Dean and Deluca makes a good one, and I can get theirs in our local market. You can find Garam Masala on line as well. I’ve also blended my own…find instructions on line if you’re interested.



If you’d like to get the soup on the table a bit faster, you can skip the cauliflower-roasting steps and simply add the florets (this time chopped) along with the apple and the potatoes. You won’t get some of that sweet depth that comes from roasting, but you’ll have soup on the table about a half-hour sooner.

46 Comments Post a comment
  1. Pinned 🙂

    December 19, 2012
    • Why thank you Kammie!

      December 20, 2012
  2. carolyn #

    And spreeeeenkle with Moroccan preserved lemons! Yes, I shall!

    December 19, 2012
    • Very cross-cultural of you! 🙂

      December 20, 2012
  3. Mari Anna #

    I can taste it in my mind! Delicious!

    December 19, 2012
    • Now you should try tasting it in your mouth! 🙂 even better!

      December 20, 2012
  4. Yum, yum, yum. Can’t wait to try this one! I’ve become quite fond of cauliflower over the years…no small thanks to you and recipes like this. Consider my cockles warmed.

    December 19, 2012
    • Can’t tell you how it pleases me to have been able to warm your cockles! 🙂 xx

      December 20, 2012
  5. So many of my favorite flavors here. My problem would be once the cauliflower is roasted, refraining from eating it piece by piece before I could transform it into soup but looks like it would be worth exercising restraint to get to that soup. BTW, here’s an explanation of cockles for anyone who might be curious:

    December 19, 2012
    • Well now that I’ve been educated as to what cockles are, I’ll have to throw the word around a bit more! 🙂 and yes, Joe, restraint will pay off. While the roasted cauliflower could be consumed in one sitting, this soup will last you for several chill winter days.

      December 20, 2012
  6. Looks cracking! My cockles were just getting cold… Hmm. I love garam masala…

    December 20, 2012
    • I love Garam Masala too, Nick! And to learn it goes well with cockles, well that just tickles me pinks! 🙂

      December 20, 2012
  7. Great recipe. I use a lot of coconut milk in curries as well as cauliflower – we like vegetable curries. Never thought of the soup. Lovely idea.

    December 20, 2012
    • I like vegetable curries a lot too, Roger, and can think of a number of them that I’d consider whirring into a coconut-creamy hot soup.

      December 20, 2012
  8. Great recipe…I’m all into soup lately 🙂

    December 20, 2012
    • ”tis the season! 🙂 soups on!

      December 20, 2012
  9. This really tickle my .. fancy! Love raw cauliflower – but never been keen on soup – but this really talk to me with all the spices. And I true like naan bread.

    December 20, 2012
    • Naan’s a natural with this! Spread a little warm ghee and then sprinkle with coarse salt and toasted cumin seeds, so num naan!

      December 20, 2012
  10. Roasting your cauliflower really makes all the difference. Great flavors going on here and perfect for these cold wet and windy days we have been having here. Currently we are having a monsoon in HK which simply means lots of wind and rain and a good day to stay in and make your soup. Take Care, BAM

    December 20, 2012
    • We’re having our own version of monsoon Bam, though I’m sure it pales in comparison to yours! Still, a soup with all these warming spices tastes just right in the middle of all this wet and wind. Try to stay warm and dry Bam and have a good weekend.

      December 20, 2012
  11. All the flavors that I love in one bowl…yum.

    December 20, 2012
    • I too love when a bowl can deliver like that Karen!

      December 20, 2012
      • I just wanted to stop back in to wish you all the best for the holidays.

        December 24, 2012
        • You dear Karen! Thank you so much! I wish you the very same, and know that by now you’re well on your way! Merry merry (and probably beautiful white) Christmas!

          December 24, 2012
  12. Such a delicious soup and your timing, Spree, could not come at a better time. A storm is closing in on us and we soon may be seeking “… a warm refuge from winter’s chill …”. With just the right amount of curry paste, my as-yet-to-be-defined cockles will be nice and toasty, I’m sure. 🙂

    December 20, 2012
    • I read about the storm heading your way John. It’s going to be hitting a large swath of the country at once it sounds like. I hope large scale power outages won’t come with this one, and that no one will have to depend on soup alone to keep their cockles warm! Have a great weekend John.

      December 20, 2012
  13. My mom used to say that all the time when I was a little girl, I remember thinking it must have something to do with my throat because that’s where all the warm food would slide down. I think the roasting step must really enhance the flavors.. and I love garam masala. Stunning photography, spree, it warms the heart to just look and be drawn in…xxx

    December 20, 2012
    • That’s cute! 🙂 love it! Reminds me of all the things we don’t quite understand as kids but form our own perfect sense of them anyway. (especially true with lyrics!) I’d like to serve you a bowl of this soup dear Smidge, and maybe a frosty pint as well! 🙂 take very good care my friend! xxx

      December 20, 2012
  14. Lovely soup for this cold windy winter’s day. The photos are very beautiful and hunger-inspiring!

    December 20, 2012
    • If I’ve inspired appetite, that’s an enormous compliment! 🙂 Thanks for the very nice words!

      December 20, 2012
  15. Cauliflower? Curry paste? Coconut milk? Count me in! Great photos, too.

    December 20, 2012
  16. Patsy Ruth Bressler #

    Cockles are a shell, I think, and no one knows what they have to do with a warm heart.

    Sent from my iPad

    December 21, 2012
  17. Patsy Ruth Bressler #

    The curry makes. It warm the heart AND the tummy. This observation is from mama of course ; Why else’s would there be a period where it doesn’t belong. Mr. IPad inserted the apostrophe in ‘else’s’.

    Sent from my iPad

    December 21, 2012
  18. Cauliflower – probably my most fav veggie, deliciously wrapped by warm spices, perfection for this time of year 🙂 bliss

    December 21, 2012
  19. I wish I had seen this earlier! It has been raining for three days and a warm and comforting soup like this one would have been perfect!

    December 22, 2012
    • There’s sure to be other cold days Sawsan, so all is not lost! 🙂

      December 23, 2012
  20. I just wanted to pop in and say hi and to wish you a very merry christmas my friend x

    December 24, 2012
    • Oh dear Claire! You lifted me just as I was needing a wee boost! So sweet to hear from you! Merry Christmas my friend, and I’ll so look forward to catching up with you after the flurry dies down! My best to you! Merry Christmas!

      December 24, 2012
  21. So, you’ve managed to put everything I love into soup form. Marvellous! In other words, I’m thinking this soup the liquid version of my favourite turtleneck…

    December 28, 2012
  22. I adore curried cauliflower and the soup too – perfect, as you say, for warming your cockles!

    December 28, 2012
  23. Mmmm, I adore cauliflower and love it in soup. This curried version sounds wonderful!

    December 28, 2012
  24. Nice! You know we will like this…will try!

    January 8, 2013
    • In all honesty (while yet trying to be humble) I’d be very surprised if you didn’t. 😉

      January 9, 2013
  25. settleandchase #

    Oh Yum! This is making it’s way into my lunch plans this week for sure!

    January 12, 2013

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