01 February 2016

Experiments in Paleo: Cauliflower Curry Soup

A couple of weeks ago I was the sickest I've been with stomach issues since moving to India, and I've found that I feel better when I cut out certain foods. For the last few months I was a little lax sticking to paleo (read: too lazy to cook something separate for myself); however, I still managed to follow the gist of it, mostly. I was never on the hardcore paleo bandwagon, I just can't bring myself to cut out dairy, and I really don't understand why I should as long as the products I'm eating are not overly processed. Did our ancestors not have cows to milk? I'm pretty sure Indians have had yogurt since the beginning of time. Also, cheese. The main takeaway on dairy for me is that I'm choosing fresh cheeses rather than mass produced, processed cheeses that seem to stay "fresh" regardless of how long they sit in the fridge. I continue to steer clear of sugars (pretty easy for me considering how sickly sweet I find most Indian desserts), but I did allow some of the grains I so love back in my life. I even ate pasta one day and it was glorious. However, instead of slipping back into old habits, I maintained a healthier relationship with them, and instead of having the ever-present Basmati rice on a daily basis, I chose gluten-free parathas or rotis instead. I did allow myself some toast or crackers with tea or a sandwich on occasion, but bread is no longer part of my daily diet. In an effort to get back on the paleo wagon properly, I am kicking February off with another cauliflower creation.

I found this recipe for "Easy Curried Cauliflower Soup" on the All Recipes app last month when my friend was in town visiting. We gave it a shot with a few modifications and it turned out delicious. As winter is ending, but there's still a bit of chill in the air, I thought I'd make this for dinner tonight before it gets too hot to properly enjoy.

Cauliflower Curry Soup

1 tbsp ghee
1 red or yellow capsicum/bell pepper
1 red onion
3 carrots
garlic cloves (to taste)
1 head of cauliflower
32 fl. oz. vegetable broth or chicken stock
~2 tbsp yellow curry powder (or to taste)
~1 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
Salt and ground black pepper (to taste)
Cream/sour cream/yogurt (to taste)
Parsley/cilantro (to garnish)

The original recipe calls for olive oil and for a long time, extra-virgin olive oil was the only oil that I used for cooking as it is high in antioxidants and monounsaturated fats that lower "bad" cholesterol and raise "good". Then I read in the paleo diet that you should just use olive oil as a salad dressing or drizzled over steamed veggies, but not for cooking. A friend also told me that heating olive oil supposedly releases toxins that are dangerous. I did a little research and found that because olive oil has a lower smoke point than other oils, when you cook over high heat the beneficial compounds begin to degrade and potentially harmful compounds form. Other websites suggested canola oil as a substitute, but as it is highly processed and often made from genetically modified seeds, it didn't strike me as the best choice. Many of the paleo sites list ghee, coconut, and avocado oils, amongst others, as "healthy" fats to use in cooking, so I regularly substitute ghee or coconut oil for other processed oils.

I start by heating some ghee in a kadai where I saute my onion and garlic (I use way more than the 3 cloves called for in the original recipe) until the onions are clear and garlic are fragrant and a light brown. I then add a bit of the curry powder and cayenne pepper to let them soak in the flavors and cook for a few more minutes.

In a separate pan I cook the carrots, capsicum, and cauliflower over ghee until softened. I then combine my onions and garlic with the veggies in the large pan, pour in the stock/broth, bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer for about 10 minutes, letting the liquid reduce. Since I don't have a hand blender, the next part is a bit messy and usually ends with me covered in soup as I attempt to pour it into our mixie to blend until smooth. Then I dump it back into the pot, the rest of the curry powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and freshly ground black pepper, and simmer for a few more minutes. If you don't have cayenne pepper handy, you can also a few shakes of Tabasco® to spice things up. 

I like my soup a little creamy so I add whatever I have in the house, usually Nestlé A+ Dahi yogurt, but sour cream, whipping cream, or coconut milk also work. I typically garnish with parsley or cilantro.

No comments:

Post a Comment