30 January 2006

Cooking with Shades: Cauliflower and Chickpea Soup

note: curry powder recipe now appears in comments
When lots of other people were sharing recipes last week, I was too busy working on organizing my own recipes to decide what to share. So here's my contribution to the virtual dinner party: curried cauliflower and chickpea soup, topped with a cranberry chutney. The recipe is from one of our newer cookbooks, Simple Suppers, the 2005 publication by the Moosewood Collective. It focuses on simple, everyday meals:

1.5 c. chopped onions (especially if you're three, wear your sunglasses when you chop to keep your eyes from watering)
1 T vegetable oil
1.5 T grated peeled ginger root (I use the ginger-in-the-squeeze-tube these days)
1.5 T curry powder (I use homemade curry, the recipe from one of Julie Sahni's cookbooks; I used only half this amount last night b/c we ran out, and CG is not big on spicy food these days anyway)
.5 tsp salt
1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 c. water or vegetable broth (I used Imagine brand's broth-in-a-box, although sometimes I also use powdered veg broth)
1 small head cauliflower (small hands can easily chop cauliflower with a cheese spreader)
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
Cranberry Chutney
sprigs cilantro (optional; I left it out as I think cilantro tastes like soap)

In a soup pot, cook onions in the oil for a few minutes, until they soften. Add ginger, curry power & salt; saute for a minute or so, stirring constantly so the spices don't burn. Add the chickpeas and the water, cover, and bring to a boil.

Cut the cauliflower into small pieces. When the water boils, stir in the cauliflower and tomatoes (this is another good moment to don sunglasses, since it keeps the steam from going in your eyes. It's also fun, and may make you giggle. But no matter how much you giggle, be careful not to touch the pot. CG is very good at safely giggling while stirring and wearing shades.). Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the cauliflower is tender (around 5 minutes).

Remove the pot from the heat when the cauliflower is done. Puree 2-3 cups of the soup in a blender and stir it back into the pot. (I got distracted by CG last night and didn't even read this paragraph. The unpureed soup is yummy, but pureeing it would make a nice texture now that I read the whole recipe. Live and learn!) Top each bowl with a spoonful of chutney and cilantro, if you like that sort of thing.

Serves 4-6 and takes about 35 minutes start to finish. Chopping the cauliflower is the most timeconsuming part. Good with naan, chapatis, or other bread; we had challah.

The Cranberry Chutney:

1 T vegetable oil
2 c. chopped onions (I don't think I used this much b/c CG needed to eat quickly so I chopped only 1 onion)
.5 tsp. salt
.12 tsp black pepper (.12 = one-eighth for readers who don't do decimals easily)
1 T white or cider vinegar
1 T graded peeled ginger root
1 tsp. grated lemon or orange peel
pinch cayenne (I left this out due to CG's love of mild food these days)
1 16 oz can whole-berry cranberry sauce

In a saucepan on medicum heat, warm the oil and cook the onions, salt, and pepper until the onions are translucent, around 5 minutes. Add everything except the cranberry sauce and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. (I halved the recipe, and found the pan dried out a bit, so I didn't cook it as long as the recipe recommends). Add the cranberry sauce and stir (the cranberries spit water and cranberry juice out of the hot pan, maybe b/c my mixture was dry?) Serve hot, warm, room temp, or chilled.

I wasn't sure I was going to make the chutney: it seemed like more trouble, I wasn't sure we'd all like it, and the soup smelled great as is. But I am really glad I did it. It really made the soup, and it looked beautiful ladled on top.

Not much cooking around here: CG had a minor surgical procedure this morning (in and out of the OR before 8:30). She's a trouper, but it looks like we'll be sitting around on the couch, co-parenting with PBS and recovering with the Weather Colorforms we never got around to giving her for the December holidays. It's made a great post-surgery treat. So I'm off to snuggle my girl. Happy eating, everyone!


Arwen said...

The original Moosewood's Gado Gado is the comfort food of my childhood. Just had some on the weekend.
Take care of yourself and CG. I hope her recovery is easy and complete.

Ianqui said...

Mmmmm. Cauliflower. Seriously, it ranks up there with broccoli on my list of favorite foods. I'll have to try this one.

Scrivener said...

I was just looking at the cookbook yesterday. So does it hold up? It's as good as it looked in the store? I want that cookbook pretty badly. Think I'll get it very soon.

Piece of Work said...

Yummy, this sounds fantastic. And bonus, no dairy, so my kids can (theoretically) eat it.

BUt the curry--I'm guessing you mean red curry, since the yellow kind is not really spicy. Right?

susan said...

Yes, Simple Suppers is quite good. Some of the entrees have seemed a little light to me (which is OK--they just need a salad or veg or something to go with them); this soup is the tastiest thing I've made from the book, but everything has been really fine. It's not so much chock full of knock-your-socks-off-yummy stuff, but it's full of great ideas to get a quick meal on the table during the week. And I like that a lot--it's gotten me out of some ruts.

Amy, not sure how to answer your question about the curry powder. Here's the recipe I use for the mix, from Julie Sahni's Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking: .5 c. coriander seeds, 15 dry red chili pods (optional; I leave them out); 1.5 tsp. each cumin, mustard and fenugreek seeds; 1.5 tsp. black peppercorns; 15-20 curry leaves (dry or fresh, optional; I leave them out since I don't know where to find them here); 3T turmeric. Mix everything except the curry leaves and turmeric in a blender or spice mill and grind to a fine powder in several batches. Pour into a bowl and combine well. If you are using the curry leaves, dry them briefly and add to the bowl. Stir in the turmeric. Transfer to an airtight jar, cover tightly, and store. The recipe says it keeps up to 3 months but I keep mine way longer than that.

susan said...

Ianqui, I just noticed you have a cauliflower recipe up in your blog's corner--aloo gobi. That looks yummy, too. We order aloo gobi quite frequently.