A couple of months ago, we had a lovely Indian dinner at our friends Anne and Mark's house. Onion fritters, chicken, lentils, rice, etc., etc.... all fresh-tasting, spicy without being mindblowingly hot, and totally devoid of that generic "curry powder" flavor.
Anne confided that all her recipes had come from Madhur Jaffrey's Quick & Easy Indian Cooking. So when I saw the selfsame cookbook on sale at Powell's the other day, I had to pick it up. (Even though it only had a couple of soup recipes in it, sniff.)
This is the one I made to try the book out. A rousing success, and even better tasting the next day. Thanks for the great recommendation, Anne!
Madhur Jaffrey's Gingery Cauliflower Soup (with, of course, variations by Molly)
Serves eight, or thereabouts.
3 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 jalapeno or other medium-hot pepper, seeded and minced
1 1" piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 medium potatoes (I used 1 russet and 1 Yukon Gold, 'cause it's what I had on hand), peeled and cut into 1/2" dice
1 small-to-middling cauliflower, cored and chopped
6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup buttermilk (You could also do just a cup of half-and-half or cream; I had buttermilk on hand, and the tangy note it adds was really nice with the cauliflower)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Chopped fresh cilantro
Heat a soup pot and melt the butter over medium heat. Add onion and jalapeno; cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add ginger, garlic and spices; cook, stirring, 1 minute more.
Add potatoes, cauliflower and broth. Bring just to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are very tender, about 20 minutes.
Using an immersion blender if you've got one, puree soup until fairly smooth. (If you don't have one, batches, hot be careful, yadda yadda.) Return soup to stove over low heat; whisk in half-and-half and buttermilk. Heat through; don't let it boil. Taste and correct salt as warranted.
Grind a little pepper and sprinkle a little cilantro over each serving just for prettiness' sake.