South Indian soups need some explaining. The are quite diametrically opposed to dishes that could be called soups but are not – rasam, for example, or thin dhal, or even a sambar. For the most part, the true South Indian Soup is a simple, uncomplicated vegetable soup that is not spiced. Thus the vegetable becomes the feature, not the layers of spices. There is no artifice in these soups at all.
Presumably, these soups are of Anglo-Indian origin and have gained enough popularity to become part of the cuisine, or perhaps they are the result of the occupation of regions by other countries, namely France and Portugal. In many ways they are a little 1950’s, yet beautiful in their pared back simplicity
This uncomplicated Cauliflower Soup is nourishing, comforting and warming, with no other flavours except cauliflower, potato, and black pepper.
Are you after soups? Try Indian Tomato and Potato Soup, Tomato, Lemongrass and Ginger Soup, and Tomato and Dal Soup. See also How to Make a Light, Infused Vegetable Stock/Broth, Indian Style.
Indian Cauliflower Soup
Adpated From: Cook and See Vol 4. by Priya Ramkumar/Meenakshi Ammal
Prep Time: 30 mins to cook the vegetables
Cook Time: 10 mins
Serves: around 6, depending on how you use it
1 medium cauliflower, broken up
2 medium potatoes
3 cups cooking water
0.5 cups milk
1 Tblspn plain flour (maida) (optional)
1 Tblspn butter
1 Tblspn black pepper
salt as desired
Cook the cauliflower flowerettes and potatoes. Keep aside the water that the vegetables cooked in. Peel the potatoes after cooking.
Gently warm the butter with 3 cups of the cooking water and the milk. As soon as it melts sufficiently, take it off the heat.
Blend the vegetables, stock and milk, pepper and flour (if you want to thicken the soup a little) until a smooth puree.
Pour the puree into a saucepan and heat gently until boiling, stirring often. Simmer gently for 5 or 6 minutes, continuing to stir particularly if the flour was used. In this case the soup will thicken a little.
Add more cooking water or milk if the soup is too thick.
Salt to taste and add more pepper if needed. It will take surprising amounts of both.
The puree is reasonably thick as it is, but it can be thickened as described. An alternative is to use the butter and flour to make a roux and add the soup to that to thicken if needed.
A little cream can be added to enhance the creaminess.
If you are nervous about the amount of pepper, add a small amount first, and taste. Continue adding and tasting until you have the right balance.
If you have some Indian Stock in the fridge, you can use that in place of water.