Spicy Carrot Soup

Photo by Karsten Moran for the New York Times.


Hail got Glade Road Growing's chard this week (sigh), but there will still be carrots and onions in the farm share.  With the cold weather, I though soup would be good.  (And when the warm weather returns, this one is also good chilled.  If you would like this to be heartier, for a main course, you can add two cups of cooked white beans or garbanzos. 


Serves 4

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil,  coconut oil, or ghee
2 medium onions, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
4 cloves of fresh garlic, smashed, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon turmeric
½ ground coriander
⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 pounds young carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
8 cups of water
1 cup of dried white beans or garbanzo beans, cooked (optional)
1 bunch or hakurei turnips or one small daikon radish, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick (about 2 cups) (if using turnips, reserve the greens for another use)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds

Cilantro or basil leaves, chopped, for garnish (optional)
Lime wedges, for serving
Greek yogurt or tofu sour cream for garnish (optional)


1.  If you are adding beans to make this a main dish,
the night or at least two hours before, in a medium saucepan with a heavy bottom and a tight-fitting lid, cover 1 cup of beans with 2 cups water, and bring to a boil.  Rinse.  Return to pot, add ½ teaspoon sea salt and bring again to a boil again.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Let stand over night or for at least one hour. Rinse a second time.  Add two cups of water and bring to a boil again and simmer on low heat until soft, about 1 hour with 2 bay leaves.

2.  In a heavy-bottomed, lidded  soup pot, over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of the oil.  When it is hot enough that a drop of water turns to steam, add onions saute, stirring, for about 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add ginger, garlic, turmeric, coriander and cayenne and cook for one minute more, or just until fragrant. Season with salt.

3.  Add carrots and water. Raise the heat and bring to a brisk simmer, then put on the lid and turn heat to low. Cook until the carrots are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from stove and let cool slightly.
If you would like this to be a main dish, add two cups of cooked beans.  Purée in a blender in batches, then return to soup pot.  Thin with water as  necessary, as the soup should not be too thick. Set aside.

4.  While soup is cooking, steam the turnips or daikon until tender, about 5 to 6 minutes. Drain and keep warm.

5.  Reheat the soup over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, heat remaining tablespoon of  oil in cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and red pepper flakes. Cook for one minute, or until spices are fragrant and beginning to pop. Pour the entire contents of the pan into the soup and stir to combine. Taste for salt and adjust.

6.  Divide daikon pieces among four bowls and ladle over a cup or so of soup. Garnish with cilantro or basil leaves, if using, and give each bowl a squeeze of lime.   Add a dollop of yogurt or tofu sour cream, if you desire.