Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Bhaja Moshla


We are of late trying both to reduce the amount of meat we eat during the week and to cut down dramatically on our intake of triglyceride-heavy carbs. Yes, growing old really is a lot of fun. As a result our meals both involve a lot of vegetables and require us to make things that don’t call for rice or chapatis/parathas/tortillas to eat them with. I’ve been making a lot of stews with beans (with and without small amounts of meat) and I’ve also been searing fish and serving it alongside Indian veg dishes in a non-Indian manner (think a piece of fish on a plate with some vegetables alongside). And I’ve been making this cauliflower soup. It uses many of the same spices I’d deploy in a traditional sabzi with gobi. It makes for a very nice meal by itself or with a slice of whole wheat toast. As with my recipe for khatta alu, I garnish it with a pinch of home-made bhaja moshla. If you don’t have any you can sub your favourite garam masala instead. Or you could leave the last bit of masala out completely and just call it roasted cauliflower soup. The main thing is that it is easy and tasty (and perfect in the Minnesota winter).

Ingredients

  • 1 lb cauliflower separated into florets
  • 3-4 flakes of mace
  • 1/2 lb yellow onion, thickly sliced
  • 1 tblspn garlic, sliced lengthwise
  • The following ground to a fine powder: 1 tspn cumin seeds, 1 tspn coriander seeds, 1/2 tspn black peppercorns
  • 4 cups stock of choice
  • 1 tblspn fish sauce (optional)
  • Juice of half a lime
  • A big pinch of bhaja moshla or garam masala of choice
  • 2 tblspns olive oil
  • Salt

Preparation

  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a deep saucepan.
  2. While the oil is heating up, turn the oven on at 450f and place a cast iron pan—or other oven-proof dish—with the florets in one layer in the oven as it heats up. Set a timer for 30 minutes.
  3. Add the mace to the heated olive oil, wait 30 seconds, add the onion and a big big pinch of salt and lower the heat. Stir from time to time.
  4. At the 15 minute mark on the timer add the garlic to the onions and mix in.
  5. At the 28 minute mark add the ground spices to the now nut-brown onions and garlic and mix in.
  6. At the 30 minute mark turn the oven off and add the roasted florets to the saucepan and mix in thoroughly.
  7. Add the stock and when it comes to a simmer, cover the pan and cook for another 10 minutes.
  8. Uncover the pan and using a stick blender puree the contents of the pan, letting it simmer as you go.
  9. Add the fish sauce (if using) and the lime juice, mix in, taste and add more salt as necessary.
  10. Remove to a serving bowl and sprinkle the bhaja moshla over. Stir it in before serving.

Notes

  1. If you don’t have mace you can instead add 1/8 tspn or so of ground nutmeg with the other spices. If you don’t have nutmeg either, you could sub ground cinnamon.
  2. I like to use a stick blender for this as a perfectly smooth and silky puree is not what I’m going for here. A few bits of whole florets adds to the textural pleasure of the soup.
  3. If you want to keep it vegetarian/vegan you obviously don’t want the fish sauce—but using some other source of umami would be good.
  4. I’ve made this with twice as much of the spices. It’s not bad that way but I prefer this more mildly-spiced version which lets the cauliflower flavour out.
  5. If using garam masala rather than bhaja moshla you might want to add it right before you take the pan off the heat. You could also/instead garnish it with some chopped green onion.

2 thoughts on “Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Bhaja Moshla

    • I guess I should have been clearer. You put the pan with the cauliflower florets in the oven right when you turn it on at 450º. But by the time the temperature actually gets to 450º it’ll almost be done. So it only spends about 15 minutes near that temperature.

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