Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower Soup with Chestnut Dukkah

2 Jan

Moroccan Cauliflower Soup & Chestnut Dukkah

This is another one of the recipes from my party mezze workshop. We served this spicy, warming soup in little cups with teaspoons. You don’t really need a big bowl of soup as part of a buffet/mezze but a little cup is just the right amount to get you started. I put little bowls of the dukkah on the table for people to sprinkle on top of their soup and to dip their bread into.

Spiced Cauliflower Soup & Dukkah

Dukkah (or duqqa) is an Egyptian spice mix traditionally made with ground hazelnuts. I added some ground roasted chestnuts to the blend for a seasonally festive touch but if you can’t get chestnuts don’t worry. They sell roasted chestnuts at the side of the road here at this time of year, on little stalls. They roast them in big pots, you can see the smoke rising and smell them before you see them.

Chestnut Dukkah

There are millions of different recipes for Dukkah, every family has their own but this is a pretty basic version using hazelnuts, cumin and coriander seeds, sesame seeds and black pepper.

The word “Dukkah” is derived from the Arabic word “to pound”. Not surprisingly, all the ingredients are pounded in a mortar & pestle (or processor) into something between a powder and a crumbly paste. It is served as an accompaniment to meals. You dip your bread in some good olive oil (thankfully we have just taken delivery of this season’s harvest of local olive oil which is like liquid gold) then dip it into the dukkah. The spice mix sticks to the oil, then you taste it and you will be instantly addicted.

Andalucian Olive Oil

Sprinkle it over soups, stews salads, hummus, yoghurt, anything really. It’s my new favourite thing. I’m thinking of using it in a dessert for a bit of savoury kick. You could add it into a crumble mix or maybe it would work with this fig & almond fumble. Then you would have a dukkah fig fumble. Try saying that after few sherries. It’s pronounced Doo-kah by the way.

Cauliflower Soup & Dukkah

Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower Soup with Chestnut Dukkah

Serves 4 -6 (or more if you are serving it in little cups). Vegan, Gluten-Free

  • 1 med-large cauliflower, chopped into small florets
  • 1 leek, cut in half lengthways, rinsed & sliced (or 1 onion chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp harissa paste or chilli flakes (optional)
  • 125 ml water
  • 1 litre veg stock
  • salt & black pepper
  • 1 or 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • a handful of chopped fresh coriander (plus extra for garnish)

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Cook the leek/onion with a pinch of salt for 3 or 4 minutes until softened then add the garlic and all the spices stirring to coat and cook for another minute or so.

Add the cauliflower florets and the water and stir to coat in the spices. Pour in the veg stock, the cauliflower should be covered by the stock, if not add some water and season well with salt & black pepper. Bring to the boil then lower the heat, partially cover and simmer for about 12 minutes or until the cauliflower is really tender.

Carefully puree with a stick blender or in a processor, taking care not to splatter hot soup everywhere. When completely smooth add a squeeze of lemon and the fresh coriander and blend again.  Pour the soup back into the pan to reheat, taste for seasoning, add more salt or lemon if required. You may need to add a bit more stock or water to thin it down to the required consistency.

Serve topped with some fresh coriander and the dukkah.

Chestnut/Hazelnut Dukkah Recipe

  • 100 g roasted chestnuts and/or hazelnuts, chopped
  • 6 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 Tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt

If not already toasted, roast the chestnuts/hazelnuts in the oven for 5-10 minutes, watching carefully, until golden. Remove some of the skins from the hazelnuts by rubbing them, while still warm, in a clean tea towel and set aside to cool.

If not already toasted, toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan until golden and pour into medium bowl.

Toast the coriander and cumin seeds in a dry pan, shaking occasionally, until fragrant and they start to pop. Pour into a mortar and pestle and grind to a powder. Pour this into the bowl with the sesame seeds.

Put the cooled chestnuts/hazelnuts into a food processor and blend/pulse until finely ground. Stir this into the bowl with the spices and add the salt and black pepper. Mix well. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Moroccan Cauliflower Soup & Chestnut Dukkah



28 Responses to “Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower Soup with Chestnut Dukkah”

  1. cecilia January 2, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

    Oh it must be fantastic to get some good local olive oil, when i was in NZ recently they had bottles of it and like you said it was liquid gold.. there is no way you would be dipping anything in the pretend olive oil (that is cut with who knows what but it tastes so wrong) that we are able to buy around here ( rural Illinois!).. a lovely soup too.. c

    • Chica Andaluza January 3, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

      Wish I could send you some of ours!

      • Natalie Ward January 3, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

        Maybe we should start an export business!

      • cecilia January 3, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

        I am going to try much harder to find some from a close source, though the closest will be very far away i am afraid.. too cold for olives here.. c

    • Cybele January 3, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

      I recommend the California Olive Ranch’s evo. It’s pure, unadulterated oil with a fresh, fruity flavor. Each bottle is dated. Check out their web site. They ship, too.

    • Tammy January 5, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

      We have olive oil in the Southwest that might be closer for you.

  2. susanevershed January 2, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

    Looks and sounds mouthwatering!

  3. janet @ the taste space January 2, 2013 at 8:09 pm #

    Sounds uber delicious. I wish we had roasted chestnuts at every corner like they do in Turkey.. although I didn’t try any when I was there, figures. I don’t think I have ever had chestnuts, to be honest. I should fix that! With this dukkah and soup, for starters. 😉

  4. frugalfeeding January 2, 2013 at 8:52 pm #

    That soup looks SO good. I’ve also been meaning to make a dukkah for a while… perhaps I shall!

  5. Conor Bofin January 2, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

    Lovely, really lovely post.
    Happy New Year,

  6. Chris Major January 3, 2013 at 12:12 am #

    Another one to try, can’t wait! Mmmmm

  7. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide January 3, 2013 at 2:46 am #

    Every time I come here I drool over the pix. Except today. Kidding, today is no exception!

  8. Eha January 3, 2013 at 4:35 am #

    Well, have to wait a few months ere our cauliflower season gets under way again, but this soup will certainly be atop the recipe pile to be tried! And dukkah: love it – oft simply dunk a chunk of bread in EVOO and then dukkah: big yum, if one may use the term 🙂 !

  9. Chica Andaluza January 3, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

    Beautiful – a perfect bowl of happiness!

  10. musingmar January 3, 2013 at 5:33 pm #

    This sounds so good! The spicing of the soup sounds intriguing and I can hardly wait to try the dukkah. Happy New Year!

  11. kellie@foodtoglow January 3, 2013 at 6:37 pm #

    Wonderful idea using seasonal chestnuts in the dukkah. I think you already know I am a big fan of the flavours you have here, and taht I will pop dukkah and za’ztar in things at the drop of a hat, but this is a new take. Love it, and I have all the ingredients. I think I will make this tomorrow for dinner 😀

  12. Three Well Beings January 3, 2013 at 7:36 pm #

    This is incredible! I can’t wait to try it! I have company coming this weekend and they are cooks…I think we need to make this. The dukkah just looks fabulous and the tastes must be so great. I can see how a small bowl would be very satisfying. As always, beautiful photography.

  13. margaret21 January 3, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

    We’ve just tucked into that soup – no dinky bowls for us – quite enormous ones, but then we needed nothing else. Great recipe, and the dukkah made it special: a really different way to use the chestnuts we gathered in the autumn, and painstakingly shelled and peeled and froze.

  14. Big Hungry Gnomes January 4, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

    Your dukkah sounds like perfect thing for the post Christmas period when you hanker for something which is a little different but still has some festive flavour. Fantastic soup and beautiful photography

  15. narf77 January 7, 2013 at 1:45 am #

    I just ate breakfast and STILL I want this soup…right here…right now! I know what my own personal soup dragon (husband Steve) is going to be making for tonights evening meal. I have 3 cauliflowers in various stages of “distress” in the fridge crisper and at least 2 of them are going to be made into this heady mess of potage…scrumptious! 🙂

  16. Cybele January 9, 2013 at 8:28 am #

    I made this soup for dinner tonight. We’re not vegetarians so I used chicken stock and added the harrissa. It was the perfect soup for a cold winter’s night. I’m sure what’s left over will mellow even deeper as so many soups and stews do.

    The dukkha added another facet to the soup and also a crunchy texture. Dukkha must be the basis of Yotam Ottolenghi’s many nut, olive oil condiments.

    Squeezing our own Meyer lemon tree’s juice into the soup gave it a nice sweetly acidic tang.

    This recipe is a keeper.

  17. UpstairsNabe March 16, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

    Made with hazelnuts. This was crazily good. (One caveat: The dukkah is salty, so we found it best to undersalt the soup slightly before adding the dukkah.) It’s definitely a new staple. Thanks!

  18. Vira April 2, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    I love to use cauliflower in recepies. Thanks for the post.


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