• Yield: Serves 3-4

  • Time: 40 minutes total

Cauliflower-Coconut Crown Soup | garnished with smoky baby florets

This regal soup matches the delicate, nutty cauliflower with smoked paprika, which is a pumped up version of sweet paprika made by drying and smoking fresh sweet (or hot) chillies. It is an all-time favourite of mine.

When I serve this soup at home, I like arranging a circle of tiny florets on top. My wife (who is, of course, my queen) says it looks like a crown.

You can use coconut cream or milk here. I prefer cream. Make sure you choose one that has at least 18 per cent fat, and be sure it contains only coconut solids and water. Brands that contain unnecessary emulsifiers, stabilisers and preservatives should be avoided.

By all means, use more cream if you like. If you have leftover coconut cream, just freeze it in small containers for up to three months – it will be great for cooking. If preferred, you can always use double (heavy) cream instead of coconut cream.


For the soup

  • 1 large cauliflower

  • 750 ml–1 litre (25–34 fl oz/3–4 cups) water

  • 80 ml (3 fl oz/1/3 cup) coconut cream, or more if you like

  • sea salt

For the garnish

  • 3–4 tablespoons coconut or olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • sea salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes (optional)

  • 1 tablespoon fried shallots (optional)

Dinner Special book cover Cauliflower by Oz Telem


1. To make the soup: Cut the cauliflower into even-size florets, set 4 florets aside for the garnish. Peel and roughly chop the stem (reserve the stalks for making stock).

2. Place the florets and stem in a medium-size saucepan and just cover with water. Bring to the boil over a high heat, then cook, uncovered, over a medium heat for 14–18 minutes or until the florets are completely tender and easily mashed with a fork.

3. Remove about half of the cooking liquid from the pan and set aside. Add the coconut cream and purée using a handheld blender for 2–3 minutes, or until you reach a very smooth, cream-like consistency, add more cooking liquid, if necessary. Season with salt to taste.

4. To make the garnish: Cut the reserved florets into baby flowers about size of a peanut. Place in a frying pan along with the oil and sauté over a high heat, stirring frequently for 4–5 minutes, until the florets are tender and golden.

5. Add the paprika and season with salt. The florets should take on a lovely red-orange colour.

6. To serve, divide the soup between serving bowls, garnish with the baby florets and their red oil and sprinkle with chilli flakes and fried shallots if you like.

Excerpted with permission from Cauliflower by Oz Telem, published by Hardie Grant Books September 2018, RRP $19.99 Hardcover.