Wednesday, September 12, 2012
curried carrot coconut soup
Potatoes, carrots, turnips, beets, onions. They are all rather delightful, these root vegetables. They are rustic, homey and above all, comforting. Available through the year and making it even in the harsh conditions, root vegetables are a winner in my book. They are often also taken for granted; overlooked. Now, more than ever, I think it is time to start paying attention to these beautiful gems of the nature. Maybe it is because I come from a country of long and harsh winters. Root vegetables are what has kept this nation alive for centuries. (Just kidding. Kind of. Some credit also goes to rye bread.)
Soups, stews, curries. Mashed or whole. Grated, sliced, diced. Raw, roasted, boiled, even pickled. Appetizer, side, or a main. Even dessert in some cases. Are you as amazed as I am?
When the weather take a turn for the chillier temperatures, I start making soups and curries out of root vegetables. In the wintertime, there is always a bag of carrots lying around in case a quick and warming dinner is in order. I love how easy carrots are in that regard. Combined with some pantry staples such as lentils, coconut milk, and spices, they quickly will turn into a healthy, comforting dinner.
I love the combination of creamy coconut milk and the warming spices; the way they balance each other out and result in a delicious soup. This is the soup for those evenings when all you want is to curl up in a blanket with some soup and a cup of tea, and read a book or watch a movie you've meant to watch for a few weeks nows.
And, hopefully, you will stop and smile when you sip down the soup. Smile and start, though maybe slowly, being more aware and appreciate more those beautiful (in this case, orange) root vegetables that are waiting to be used.
Curried Carrot Coconut Soup
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion
2 garlic cloves
1 kg carrots
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
a pinch of ground chili pepper or red pepper flakes
100g red lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 litre vegetable stock
1 can coconut milk, divided
Peel and dice the onion and carrots. Peel and mince the garlic cloves. In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and garlic; sauté for a few minutes. Add the spices, and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the lentils and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and simmer, over medium-low heat, until the carrots are tender and the lentils are falling apart, about 25 minutes.
Purée the soup using an immersion blender (or a blender) and thin the soup to the consistency of your liking with the coconut milk. (I used about a cup.) Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon what is left of the coconut milk on top of the individual servings.