Curried Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Crispy Fried Mushrooms and Toasted Coconut
This creamy, curried roasted cauliflower soup with toasted coconut and crispy fried mushrooms is all about layer after layer of flavors and textures that stick to your ribs and warm you from the inside out.
Roasted Cauliflower is a Culinary Wonder
My love of cauliflower came late in life. When I was younger, I was convinced I didn't like it. Perhaps I was forced to eat some mushy, soggy, flavorless boiled cauliflower as a child and made up my mind to avoid that experience in the future. I don't know. But for whatever reason, I got it in my head that cauliflower was to be avoided.
Oh, the wasted years.
These days, you'll find a head or two of cauliflower in our refrigerator pretty much all the time. My favorite way to prepare is to sauté or roast it at super high heat until little golden brown and black spots appear all over the florets. Cooking cauliflower at a high temperature concentrates the natural sugars and amino acids. And you know what that means? Flavor!
It's hard to underemphasis the transformation cauliflower goes through when cooked at high heat. It develops so many layers of flavor that it doesn't even taste like the same vegetable. It goes into the oven as a somewhat delicious, but also bland, one-dimensional vegetable, and comes out as something I could (and have!) happily make an entire meal out of.
The browning process that cauliflower goes through when cooked at high temperatures is called the Maillard reaction. It’s called a “reaction” because the process doesn’t just require heat – it produces heat. As it does, the proteins in the cauliflower (or whatever you're cooking) keep rearranging themselves, creating deliciously complex flavors as they do.
- by roasting the cauliflower at 475 degrees until speckled with black and brown spots
- by toasting spices and tomato paste with garlic and onions in a saucepan
- by sautéing mushrooms until their outsides are deliciously crispy, golden, and caramelized
Roasted Cauliflower Soup might taste complicated, but making it couldn't be more simple.
#1. Spread cauliflower florets on a baking sheet, toss them with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast in a 475 degree oven until the bottoms of the florets are a rich golden brown and black spots are smattered across the surface.
#2. Cook an onion in some butter and oil until soft. Then add garlic, tomato paste and a whole lotta delicious spices - curry powder, garam masala, coriander, and cumin. Stir all that around in the pan for a while to toast open up the flavor of the spices, roast the garlic, and intensify the umami-rich deliciousness of the tomato paste.
#3. Pour in vegetable broth and coconut milk and let it all simmer away for a while to allow the flavors to fully come alive.
A quick word about which coconut milk to use in soup...
Most grocery stores have a couple different kinds of coconut milk - the kind that comes in a can and the kind that comes in a carton and needs to be refrigerated. For this recipe, you want the kind that comes in a can.
The coconut milk sold in cartons is much more diluted than the coconut milk sold in cans. Likewise, "light" coconut milk has a high of a water content and will not give the soup as much creamy richness. What you want is a can of full-fat coconut milk which can be most often found in the Asian food isle of supermarkets.
#4. While the broth simmers away getting all delicious and making your kitchen smell SO, SO good, cook some sliced mushrooms in butter and oil until they are a deep golden brown. Remember, brown = flavor. Flavor =😊
#5. Ladle all that incredibly delicious broth into a blender, toss in the cauliflower, and puree it until it's creamy and smooth. You'll most likely need to do this in batches because it's dangerous to fill a blender to the top with with hot liquid. Fill it about halfway, puree, dump the soup into a bowl, and repeat until all the soup has been blended.
#6. Pour the soup back into the saucepan, add some lemon juice and give it a taste. Add more salt and lemon juice if it needs it or just because you want to. Your soup, your rules.
And that, my friends, is pretty much it. Time to EAT.
Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a handful of crispy, fried mushrooms, toasted coconut, and sliced green onions. Eat, rub your belly, moan with pleasure, repeat.
More popular soup recipes:
- Black Bean Soup with Pickled Onions and Cilantro Oil
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- Shrimp, Rice, and Shiitake Mushroom Soup
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If you give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or take a picture and tag it #alittleandalot on Instagram.
- 2 heads cauliflower for about 12 cups cauliflower florets
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
- salt and ground black pepper
- 1 medium yellow potato for about 1 cup diced potato
- 3 tablespoon butter
- 1 medium size red onion, peeled and chopped
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon garam masala
- 2 teaspoon coriander
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoon brown sugar
- One 15 ounce can coconut milk, unsweetened, full fat (*See note)
- 4 cups vegetable broth (or water)
- 2-4 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the Crispy Fried Mushrooms:
- 12 ounces button, cremini, or baby portobello mushrooms, cleaned with a damp cloth and sliced into ¼-inch thick pieces
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut, toasted (*see instructions for toasting coconut in the notes section below)
- 1 cup chopped green onions, white and light green parts only
- Heat the oven to 475 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment or aluminum foil.
- Cut off the florettes of the cauliflower, discarding the stem and leaves. Cut the florettes into small-ish pieces (see photos above) and put them in a large bowl. Drizzle ¼ cup over the cauliflower and sprinkle with a generous amount of salt and ground black pepper. Toss to coat the cauliflower in the oil and seasoning the spread it out in an even layer on the baking sheet.
- Roast the cauliflower for about 30 minutes, until the bottoms of the floretts are charred and the tops are spotted with brown.
- While the cauliflower roasts, start making the broth. Peel the potato and cut it into 1-inch cubes. Set aside.
- Add 3 tablespoon butter and 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil to a large saucepan or dutch oven and set it over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the chopped red onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
- While the onion cooks, add the garlic, tomato paste, curry powder, garam masala, coriander, cumin, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper to a bowl. Add this to the softened onions. Cook, stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes longer.
- Add the potatoes and stir to coat them in the spices. Stir in the coconut milk and broth, and turn the heat up to high. When the broth begins to boil, lower the heat slightly, to maintain a steady but gentle simmer. Let the broth cook, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are fork tender.
- While the broth simmers, cook the crispy fried mushrooms: Add 2 tablespoon butter and 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil to a large skillet and set it over medium high heat. When the butter has melted and is sizzling, add the mushrooms.
- Toss the mushrooms around in the pan to coat with the butter and oil, then spread them out in the pan. Let the mushrooms cook, stirring them from time to time, until the outsides are deep golden brown. (See photos above)
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mushrooms to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
- When the potato is soft, ladle 2 or 3 cups of the broth into a blender and add a handful of roasted cauliflower. Purée the soup until smooth. Repeat with the remaining broth and cauliflower until all of it has been puréed.
- Stir 2 tablespoons of lemon juice into the soup and taste. Add more lemon juice and/ or more salt to the soup, to taste.
- Serve the soup in bowls topped with a handful of mushrooms, green onions, and toasted coconut.
It's important to get the coconut milk in a can (usually found in the asian food isle of the grocery store) and NOT the coconut milk sold in cartons in the refrigerator section. The coconut milk sold in cartons is much more diluted than the coconut milk sold in cans. Likewise, "light" coconut milk has a high of a water content and will not give the soup as much creamy richness.
How to Toast Shredded Coconut:
Add the coconut to a dry skillet and set the skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the coconut begins to brown. When it begins to brown, stir constantly. Cook until about half of the coconut is golden brown, then remove from the heat. If you try to cook the coconut until all of it is toasted, you'll end up with burned coconut.
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Serving Size:About 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 501Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 24gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 1000mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 12gSugar: 16gProtein: 10g