Fresh, uncooked cauliflower became my favourite vegetable ingredient to make chicken or turkey meatloaf or meatballs, since the first time I used this versatile vegetable as fresh processed cauliflower in mixes with poultry meat. Replacing sautéed cabbage with fresh cauliflower made the process of preparation faster and more simple, and also made the final dishes, prepared from this mixture, acceptable for the people who for different reasons cannot use cabbage in their diet. The idea behind this particular recipe was to create thick white sauce for meatballs, but based not on sour cream as dairy option, but on coconut cream as a dairy free option. In the process of preparation, I realised that it might be even better if the dish is cooked in a soup version, with plenty of spicy and aromatic liquid to enjoy. Soft, tender and juicy chicken meatballs are delicious ingredients in this soup, but the main attraction for the taste buds is the soup itself, with its intense, but still gentle and not overpowering flavours of ginger, chilli and a hint of coconut oil, with a magnificent clean yellow colour, coming from saffron and carrots. Chicken and fresh cauliflower meatballs soup, thickened by cooked, and disintegrated in the process, onions and eggplant is an easy and simple dish to prepare, with very flexible options for spiciness and heat in it.
- 1 kg chicken thigh mince
- 400 g cauliflower florets
- 3 large carrots, grated
- 2 large onions, or 3 small/medium
- 1 eggplant
- 1 egg
- 1 table spoon raw coconut oil
- 1 table spoons olive oil
- 1 table spoon cumin
- 1 table spoon garlic chilli paste (can be replaced by fresh garlic and chilli, as well as any spice mix)
- 1 can pure coconut cream
- fresh ginger (3cm piece)
- pinch of saffron
- sea salt and coarse black pepper for seasoning
- heat 1 table spoon of olive oil and 1 table spoon of coconut oil in a deep casserole pan
- add onion, cut in semi-circles, and saute on low heat until translucent, season with salt and pepper
- using the equal mix of coconut and olive oil gives as amazing aroma and changes the process of onion caramelisation, compared to the use of only olive oil, or the mix of olive oil and butter, it gives no yellow or light brown colour to onions, they simply become translucent
- process cauliflower into rice size crumbs
- place chicken mince, an egg, 1/2 of sautéed onions, processed cauliflower, garlic and chilli paste, cumin, salt and pepper, mix all ingredients well, shape the mixture into desired size meatballs
- add grated carrots to the pan with remaining sautéed onions, cook on low/medium heat 3-5 min
- add thinly sliced peeled eggplant, stir all vegetables
- pour contents of coconut cream can to the pan, add water, fresh ginger, cut into tiny sticks (or grated), pinch of saffron
- cook the contents of the pan to boiling point
- add chicken and cauliflower meatballs
- season with salt and pepper
- all meatballs will fit into a casserole pan with a larger diameter
- I could fit only 3/4 of the mince mixture, the rest I froze and used later to make regular meatballs soup with vegetables
- cook for 1 hour simmering on low heat
- check the seasoning in the middle of cooking, season more if necessary
- you can use as much water as you want, the dish can be made into soup or into meatballs with coconut cream and vegetable sauce
We liked the taste of this soup, inspired by Asian style cooking so much, that I have to make quite an unusual confession, this soup was even better that my regular chicken meatballs and vegetable soup, my favourite soup of all times, especially when made with dumplings. The heat in this soup depends on how much spices you add to meatballs, and ginger to the soup itself.
The soup can be served with different garnishes, sesame seeds and fresh coriander among them.
The soup refrigerates and freezes well, glass containers are the best option for refrigeration and freezing.
For those who can tolerate gluten free noodles, rice vermicelli is a nice serving option.