I’ve talked about harissa before; about its endless possibilities of using it as a marinade for meats, in hearty stews, and to flavour soups with. I considered for a moment using chickpeas and making a stew instead of this soup, but after a quick cupboard rummage proved futile, soup it was!
I love the flavour of roasted cauliflower and cumin; but the harissa mixed into it takes it to a whole new level. I’m glad I made extra, since my husband walked into the kitchen right as I was taking the tray out of the oven and dove straight in and started popping them into his mouth. Mandatory taste test. I’ve accounted for the missing pieces in the recipe, in case you’re wondering.
This North-African chilli paste is seriously hot, and using half a teaspoon in this soup had me wiping my brow halfway through. It’s the kind of heat that lurks in the background, and by the time you’ve made your way to the bottom of the bowl, you’re sure to hear your internal furnace roar to life. I recently came across a variant that used two teaspoonfuls of paste in it, and this makes me positive that the brand that I use is definitely more potent, or that the person is a real chilli-head. Either way, my word of advice would be to use sparingly at first and taste and add more as you go along (followed up in the recipe below). This soup—like all others in my list, really—leaves a lot of wiggle room to easily tweak as you go.
- 500 grams of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp harissa paste (or more to taste)
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ an onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ cup milk
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Line a baking tray with aluminium foil. Toss the cauliflower with 2 tbsp olive oil, cumin seeds, turmeric powder, and harissa until evenly coated. Spread in a single layer and bake at 180 C/ 360 F for 45 - 50 mins, or until they’ve browned. Remove and set aside. *Taste and check the fieriness of the harissa at this stage; add more if you'd like and return to the oven for 5 more minutes.
- Pour 1 tbsp of olive oil in a pot and sauté the onion and garlic until translucent. Add the roasted cauliflower along with any of the remaining cumin on the foil to the pot, and pour in 2 cups of water. Season with pepper and salt. Cover and bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 - 15 minutes, until the florets and tender. Take off the heat and let it cool slightly.
- Once cooled, add to a blender/use an immersion blender and blend until smooth. Check seasoning and add milk and more water to get the right consistency. Return the soup to a clean pot and gently reheat. Best served hot.