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
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.