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Make Your Soup Spicy! (Our Latest Contest Winner Proves Why)

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A big congratulations to Kirthana | Theblurrylime whose Roasted Cauliflower and Harissa Soup was voted the winner in our Your Best Recipe for When You Want It to Feel like Fall contest (and whose addictively spicy soup had us going back from spoonful after spoonful)! Here's a little more about her:

Roasted Cauliflower and Harissa Soup
Roasted Cauliflower and Harissa Soup

What's your least favorite food?


Mayonnaise. It's a texture thing.

What's one recipe that's been on your bucket list for a while? Why?

Family recipes that I've grown up eating can be the biggest challenge to replicate. I've been trying to master my mom's recipe for fish curry, but unfortunately I'm nowhere close just yet. I suspect that's because of her intuitive approach to cooking—"a handful of this" and "a pinch of that" isn't quite so predictable in its outcome. Now, I've resorted to watching and learning.

Photo by Kirthana | Theblurrylime

Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster:

I made a dry minced lamb and vermicelli dish a day before it was going to be served (most Indian curries and dishes taste better the next day, as the flavors have time to develop). I had this grand idea to steam it in a pressure cooker instead of reheating in a microwave. This bain-marie method using a pressure cooker is a common technique used in many Indian households to cook rice. It still remains a mystery as to what went wrong, but when I lifted the bowl of vermicelli out of the cooker, it looked stodgy and really, really wet, like vermicelli porridge. I've seen better days in the kitchen.

What's your idea of comfort food?

Hands-down my maternal grandmother's rasam and rice. And my mom makes a mean fish curry— that's my kind of pot of gold.

Apron or no apron?

Apron only for erupting, spitting sauces.

Photo by Bobbi Lin

What ingredient (or cooking tip/trick/recipe) have you been excited about lately?

My gluten-free almond crumble mix that's so quick to make and versatile for any fruit you have on hand. I also recently came across a native variety of corn at a local grocery store that is quite coarse. I blend it into finer granules and use in place of polenta! My husband loves it so much it has become a weekly staple.

What do you make when you're only cooking for yourself?

My husband is allergic to prawns and I love them any and all forms. I freeze prawns in single portions for days when I end up cooking only for myself. Most often than not, it's prawns tossed with lots of garlic (I am very heavy-handed with garlic), olive oil, chili flakes, and fresh coriander served with a side of bread.