Soup is a staple food of Hungarian cuisine. Soup to us is like food revolution is to Jamie, organic is to Gwynnie or shouting is to Ramsay…well, you get the point, it’s an essential part of being Hungarian. While Italians have their primo piatto of pasta or rice and secondo piatto of meat or fish, and French have their entrée followed by a plat, traditional Hungarian menu consists of a bowl of soup as a first course and then some meat/potato based dish as a second course. And soup we eat all year round. We don’t need freezing winter evenings or someone coming down with a cold in the family, we serve soup all the time, even in hot summer weather. We do have some cold, fruit-based soups for the summer months as well but to me those taste more like dessert and I usually swap the order and have them after the main dish.
Although I rarely prepare the traditional meat/potato dishes, I am truly Hungarian in that I need to have my bowl of soup a couple of times a week. When I moved to France 10 years ago I was missing soups so very much. It was rarely offered in the office canteen, my husband would never prepare soup (remember, this was the time I only came in the kitchen to clean up after him), so part of the motivation behind finally experimenting in the kitchen was to get my dose up hot soup.
I often do this cauliflower soup, mostly because my daughter likes it and the more veggies she eats, the happier I am. And cauliflower is not just any vegetable: we know it’s a superfood containing an impressive list of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals and it really should be included more often in our diet. I usually prepare this soup over the weekend so that I can just warm it up for a light dinner on weekdays. The recipe looks really plain, but don’t get fooled, the pureed cauliflower with coconut milk gives a lovely, creamy texture and the nutmeg and curry paste accentuate rather than cover up the strong taste of these white florets.
What you’ll need to serve 4:
- a good glug of olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, diced
- 1 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons of green curry paste
- a smaller head of cauliflower cut into florets
- 1 cube of vegetable stock
- filtered water
- salt and pepper to taste
- 100ml coconut milk
- chopped parsley or chive to decorate
- a spoonful of happiness
What you’ll need to do:
- In a large saucepan heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the onion, for 3-4 minutes. Next add the garlic, curry paste and grated nutmeg, continue to sauté for a couple of minutes until onion is translucent.
- Add the chopped up cauliflower and sauté for another minute.
- Now add filtered water to cover the cauliflower florets, and add the cube of vegetable stock. Increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover your pan and let the soup simmer until the cauliflower is tender, about 20-25 minutes.
- Turn of the heat and using a stick blender puree the soup until very smooth. Add a little water if you find the consistency too thick. You can also use a blender and mix the soup in batches, just be careful to hold tightly the cover of the blender with a thick wad of of towel, otherwise the hot soup will do a lot of damage.
- Now reheat the pureed soup, adding salt and pepper to taste and pour in the coconut milk. Serve in bowls and garnish with some more grated nutmeg, chopped chives or parsley and a thin stream of extra virgin olive oil.