Wednesday, November 30, 2011


As soon as fall arrived, I started craving all things orange: sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and even, finally, pumpkin. As soon as I saw this soup at The Kitchn, I wanted it in my belleh. I could eat pureed soups for days on end, but I try to keep my desire for them at reasonable levels because A prefers the chunky stuff; still, I already had three carrot soups in my collection, so adding another seemed like madness. But this one was different! Although curried orange-hued soups are hardly new territory, I hadn’t made one before (although last winter’s lentil version alerted me to how delicious curried soups can be), and besides, the addition of coconut milk was calling out to me.

As with most vegetable soups, this was a cinch to throw together. My can of coconut milk was only something like 13.5 ounces and the mixture looked a bit thick after pureeing, so I added a little 1% milk to thin it out. Then I excitedly took a taste and…meh. I added more salt, usually the remedy for an iffy soup, but was still a bit disappointed. I wasn’t getting a strong curry taste and knew my curry powder was pretty ancient, so I would have added more…except my jar was empty; I’d only just been able to scrape out the tablespoon the recipe required. A little acid seemed as though it might perk things up, so my thoughts turned to citrus. I didn’t have a lemon, but I did have a nice, fat lime. I know lime plays well with coconut, ginger, and curry, and it seemed as though it would complement the carrot nicely. I squeezed in the whole lime and—zowie! Just this one little extra ingredient took the soup from blah to bombastic. I felt like a culinary genius.

I’d like to try the recipe again with some fresh curry powder, just to see if that would have remedied my problem, but as a citrus fiend I’ll still be making the lime (or, in a pinch, I think lemon would be just as good) a permanent component. With it, this soup was fantastic—sweet from the carrots, bright from the citrus, creamy from the coconut, earthy from the curry, and with a surprising kick from the red pepper flakes. (I loved the way the heat blossomed after each bite, but if you’re spicy-foods-averse, maybe start with ¼ teaspoon and see how it goes; you can always garnish with more later.) This will be a wonderful warming, cheerful soup in the depths of winter (not that the depths get very deep in Southern California), particularly when I have a cold. Serve it with some multigrain rolls and you’re all set to feel simultaneously hippie-healthy and cozily indulgent.

2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
6 cups unpeeled, roughly chopped carrots (about 8 medium-sized carrots)
3½ cups vegetable stock (I used homemade chicken stock)
One 15-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
1½ tablespoons freshly chopped ginger root
1 tablespoon curry powder
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of 1 lime (or 1 lemon)

1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until tender, about 7 minutes. Add the carrots and cook for another 5 minutes. Pour in the stock and coconut milk. Add the ginger, curry powder, and chili flakes. Put a lid on the pot and cook until the carrots are softened, about 10 or 15 minutes.

2. When carrots are soft, carefully blend the soup in batches in a blender, or use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and add lime juice to taste.

Serves: 6 to 8
Time: 45 minutes
Leftover potential: Great. Keeps for a week in the fridge or indefinitely in the freezer.

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