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Cauliflower Soup with Almond Cream

As a cruciferous vegetable, cauliflower is excellent for balancing the kapha and pitta doshas, but it may aggravate the vata dosha. Even if you are one of those people who have scratched cauliflower from their shopping list, try this soup. It should cause you no airy problems because it is balanced with fresh almond cream and spices. It is the kind of velvety, comforting, delicious treat you need on a brisk winter day.

1. Heat the ghee in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the turmeric and toast for 10 seconds, then add the cumin seeds and toast for 5 more seconds. Add the curry leaves, salt, and asafetida and toast for about 10 more seconds, until the leaves crisp up. Add the cauliflower and taro, stir to mix the vegetables with the spices, and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add 5 cups of water, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a full boil. Cover, lower the heat, and simmer until the cauliflower and taro are tender, about 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the almond cream: To peel off the skins of the soaked almonds easily, cover them with a cup of boiling-hot water for a few seconds. Rinse, drain, and peel the almonds. In a blender, blend them with ⅔ cup of water to a smooth cream. Set aside ¼ cup of the cream for garnishing.

3. Let the cooked soup sit uncovered for 10 minutes to cool down a bit, then add the pepper and blend the soup with the almond cream to your preferred consistency: chunky or smooth (add more water if necessary). I prefer it smooth, so once it’s blended, it looks like delicate custard.

4. Reheat the soup. Garnish each bowl with the fresh herb and a swirl of almond cream. Serve immediately.

Recipe extracted from Joy of Balance by Divya Alter, published by Rizzoli International Publications, Inc. Photography © Rachel Vanni. Food stylist © Caitlin Haught-Brown.