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Author Notes: The basic recipe appears on p257 of Alice Water's "The Art of Simple Food". I have made this dish many times but now I find I always tailor the recipe more to my taste buds and the occasions it is being served at. I love cauliflower and chili, coriander and mint, home-made chicken broth, and cumin and coriander spices. To love Alice's work is to adore David Tanis' work as well. For 25 years he was, until recently, the co-head chef at Chez Panisse. Here is my respectful take on their work. I am including it because it is too good not share with the world. —krusher
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 carrot, peeled & diced
- 1 brown onion, peeled & finely diced
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed finely
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed finely
- 1/4 teaspoon dried chili flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- salt to taste
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
- 2 small fennel, sliced finely then chopped
- 1 cauliflower, medium size, chopped
- 4 cups chicken stock, preferably home-made
- 2 cups water (if needed)
- 1 handful chives, chopped
- 1 handful mint, chopped
- 1 juice of 1 lime
- zest of 1 lime
- HEAT the olive oil in the heavy based soup pot and add the first 9 ingredients (carrot, onion, cumin & coriander seeds, chili flakes, turmeric, salt and black pepper). STIR OFTEN until softened but not browning to keep the mixture from catching on the bottom.
- ADD the cilantro, fennel, cauliflower, chicken broth and water if needed. RAISE the heat and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. REDUCE HEAT to a simmer and COOK until the cauliflower is very tender (about 30 minutes).
- USE A HAND HELD BLENDER to blend the soup (a blender would obliterate the texture). FOLD THROUGH chives, mint and lime zest and gently incorporate the lime juice.
- To vary taste and cater to a particular sense of occasion, I have at times folded through plain creamy low-fat yoghurt or a couple of tablespoons of low-fat cream.
- NOTE: I find adding chili powder and dried chili flakes overkill. As dried chili flakes are my friend always, I have opted to delete the chili powder from the original recipe.