Monday, November 14, 2011

Meatless Monday: Spicy Vegan Coconut Carrot Soup with Ginger

Since we all turned our clocks back last week, the days have started feeling shorter and shorter, and we're spending more time indoors, huddled in from the cold darkness that falls so early each afternoon.  This marks the beginning of soup season.  Normally we think of soups and stews as being brothy or cream based, and generally very salty and savory.  For this week, I wanted to make use of the Eastern notion that spicy food helps warm the body and made an easy soup to eat all week.
I combined ingredients that I always keep in the pantry (all the spices and the coconut milk) with the last of the seasonal produce (the carrots and jalapenos) to make this rich and comforting soup.  The jalapenos give a nice kick while the coconut milk makes it smooth and satisfying.   
I decided to add extra texture to the soup because I dislike overly processed creamy soups that taste like baby food.  I found some unsweetened dry flake coconut and carrot chips (locals, these came from Stringtown and they are delicious) to add extra crunch and flavor.

Spicy Vegan Coconut Carrot Soup with Ginger
2-3 lbs carrots, roughly chopped
3 small yellow onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, diced
1-2 jalapenos, to taste, diced (optional)
1 can coconut milk (shake before using)
1-2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1-2 tbsp. curry powder
1/2 c. beer, stock, or water
2-4 tbsp. oil

Start with your carrots.  Peel or scrub them well and chop roughly.  These carrots are half from the Iowa Valley Food Coop and half from our garden.  We grew the squat Parisienne carrots and were really happy with the flavor.
Chop your onions, mince your garlic and ginger. 

Heat oil in a Dutch oven or stock pot with a heavy bottom and add your onions.  Season well with salt and pepper.

Once the onions are lightly browned and starting to become translucent, add the garlic, ginger, and jalapeno.  (We used 2 and it was quite spicy. If you don't like things very spicy, add fewer chilies or omit them completely.  Your curry powder may have some heat itself.)
Stir these constantly until you start to smell the garlic, 1-2 minutes.  Do not allow the garlic to burn or it will become bitter.  Then, add your curry powder and carrots. Again season with salt and pepper. Stir and continue cooking over medium heat to help the carrots start to soften and the curry powder to cook.  (Raw curry powder has a very chalky taste, so you must cook it a bit before adding your liquid.)
While you're cooking, you might see the curry powder start to stick to the bottom of the pan.  This is fine, but do not let it burn.  If it starts to brown too much, add a little of your liquid.  We used this beer, thinking the coriander might taste good with the other seasonings.  Once your carrots are soft, add your liquid.
Stir. This should be pretty and smell really good.  Scrape the bottom to get all the good stuff.
Cook in the liquid until the carrots are soft but not cooked to your liking, around 5 more minutes.
Grab your coconut milk.
Pour it in and stir.  You might need to add an extra 1/2 c. of liquid to thin it out, depending on how much liquid you lost when you cooked the carrots.  Bring this to a low simmer and cook until the carrots are cooked to your liking and the flavors have mixed.  For us, this was another 15-20 minutes at very low.
Use your stick blender to process this as much as you'd like. I prefer chunks of carrots, so I only did it for a few minutes.
Serve hot and garnish with the carrot chips and flake coconut.
It's even better the next day.
Go make some soup and warm your belly!
edited to add: a picture of miss Eleanor loungin' for Sarah


Sarah said...

No Ellie pic?

meggibson said...

Num. Give me some of those carrot chips, or buy me some next time you go, or make me some!! you ever made them? love you guys

Alicia said...

Sarah, I added it for you :)
Meggie, you'll have to fight Nessa for the rest. I'm going to buy a couple more packages next time we go, maybe we should hit Kalona when we visit the outlet mall? We've tempura fried carrot slices before and they were delicious!

Sarah said...

YAY! That's a good one. Thank you mama.

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