Spiced Cauliflower White Bean Soup w/ Fried Curry Leaves & Beer Bread
I don’t think I could ever tire of eating soup. No matter the season, soup is a welcome guest I always make room for.
This is a simple soup yet intensely flavored with coriander, mustard seeds, fennel and curry leaves (more on the curry leaf later). Most of the fussy prep for this soup is grinding the spices and preparing the roasted cauliflower, toasted garlic, and fried curry leaves…the garnishes for this soup. Curry leaves? Think bay leaf but with an intense aroma. Curry leaves have little to do with curry, the complex spice mixture widely used in Indian cuisine and can vary depending on the geographic region. Curry leaves are an herb that have a distinct, smoky, citrus-like flavor and smell. The leaves are pungent and I find add a greater depth of flavor to all of my Indian dishes.
You can find them at your local Asian and Indian grocery stores or if you’re having no luck, you can purchase it here. They can be stored in a plastic baggie inside your refrigerator, but can last up to 6 weeks wrapped tightly in your freezer. They are a pretty resilient herb, but will blacken overtime in your refrigerator.
This soup will definitely be my lunch at least for the next two days. It is filling and so flavorful. I made a beer bread (recipe follows) as an accompaniment, but feel free to keep with the theme and eat with naan bread or even better, pappadam’s (a crispy Indian flat bread).
Bye for now!
Spiced Cauliflower White Bean Soup w/ Fried Curry Leaves & Beer Bread//serves 4
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, ground
1 teaspoon mustard seeds, ground
1 teaspoon fennel, ground
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh black pepper
1 (14.5) ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 medium head cauliflower, broken up into florets
5 to 6 curry leaves
1 quart reduced sodium vegetable broth
1 cup almond milk or other plant based milk
5 to 6 cauliflower florets, halved
2 cloves garlic, sliced and toasted
6 to 8 curry leaves
Beer Bread//yield 1 loaf
Adapted from Half Baked Harvest
3 cups flour
4 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ cup brown sugar, loosely packed
12 ounces of your favorite beer
½ teaspoon salt
Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, spices, salt and pepper stirring often. When onion and garlic are soft, add beans, potatoes, cauliflower, vegetable stock and almond milk. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook until the cauliflower and potatoes are tender. Allow to cool. Transfer mixture a blender or use a hand held blender to puree until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add more broth. Taste and adjust seasonings.
For the roasted cauliflower, preheat oven to 400’. Cut cauliflower florets in half. Place on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and salt. Roast uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
For the curry leaves, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Add 6 to 8 curry leaves and fry for 30 seconds. The leaves will quickly crisp up. Remove the leaves and place on a paper towel to drain. Using the oil to fry the curry leaves, toast the sliced garlic until golden brown. Remove and transfer to paper towel to drain.
To assemble, ladle cauliflower white bean soup into bowls. Add the roasted cauliflower, fried curry leaves and toasted garlic on top of the soup. Serve immediately.
For the beer bread, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with nonstick spray. Add the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and a pinch of salt to a mixing bowl. Pour in the beer and stir with a mixing spoon until just combined. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until the top of the bread is lightly browned and the middle is set.
Note: You can use a spice grinder or mortar and pestle to grind your spices.