I am not quite back into the rhythm of blogging since my hiatus, but I thought I’d share one of my go-to, ridiculously easy recipes.
Yes, I know it’s July. And sweltering weather doesn’t necessarily scream “soup,” but whatever.
Now, this is not a “main dish” soup. It’s more of an accompaniment to other fare. I usually serve it alongside lettuce wraps or (like today) potstickers.
What I love about this soup is that it has wonderful, complex flavors: it seems fancy, but it’s made of ingredients I almost always have around the house. It starts off sweet, then finishes with a kick of spice.
It’s also a great way to use up carrots that haven’t necessarily gone bad, but perhaps are a little limp and past their prime. And even though it does contain dairy, it actually freezes and re-heats quite well.
Asian Carrot Soup
I’ve made quite a few adaptations, but the original recipe is based on the third place winner from Amateur Gourmet’s soup contest a few years ago.
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic gloves, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 pound carrots (about 7 medium carrots), peeled and cut into 1-inch-ish pieces
a 1-inch pice of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped small*
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon hot chile flakes [I usually do the full half-teaspoon, and it’s really not that spicy, but if you have little ones or people afraid of spice, I’d say start off with a fourth-teaspoon]
3 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 1/2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 Tablespoons natural creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon honey [can sub sugar or agave nectar]
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil**
1 cup milk***
1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, cook the onion and garlic until the onion is softened.
2. Add the carrots, ginger, chile flakes, and broth. Cover. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 45 minutes.
3. Turn off the heat. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
4. If you have an immersion blender [one of those “gadgets” that actually gets a lot of use!], blend until all the ingredients are uniform. If not, blend it in batches in the actual blender. Be careful, because it’s hot.
5. Return pureed soup to the stove. Heat over low until hot. Be careful not to boil.
Very optional: garnish with chopped peanuts. [Confession: I’ve never actually done that until today, because I thought it would be cool in the picture. Instead, the picture looks a little gross. You win some; you lose some.]
*You could probably substitute 1/8-1/4 teaspoon of dried ginger for the fresh, but it will slightly affect the flavor. I keep “fresh” ginger cut into pieces in the freezer. It’s easy to pop one out to use for recipes such as these.
**Sesame oil is available on the international aisle of the grocery store. It’s a great condiment to have around. You only use a teaspoon or so with most recipes, so it lasts awhile, but really adds some good flavor.
***I’ve never tried it, but I bet substituting coconut milk for the regular milk would be delightful, if you are avoiding dairy. In that case, I’d say to cut out the honey.