Carrot and ginger and garlic…can you deny their affinity for each other? Countless local lunch stops certainly cannot, since it pops up on menus all over the place. But it’s also ridiculously EASY — the ratio of effort to return is really satisfying, and that’s one reason I like to whip it up pretty regularly.
There’s nothing wrong with the basic formula (carrots+ginger+garlic+broth+pepper=nirvana), but over the years, I’ve found a couple of ways to move the flavours in lovely directions, without adding more than a few minutes to prep time. Here’s one of my current favourites: I strengthen the aromatics with cumin, coriander and onions, smooth it out with a bit of coconut, and bump up the protein with crispy tofu and pumpkin seeds. The result? Well, what’s above nirvana? Super nirvana? Souper nirvana!
Go ahead, try the recipe. If you’re especially tight for time, just omit the tofu. I hope you enjoy it!
- 3 cups sliced carrots (about 6 to 8 carrots, depending on size)
- 2 shallots, diced
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled, and minced or grated
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil (or more, for a richer texture)
- 6 cups veggie broth
- juice of half an orange (about 1/4 cup)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp of chili flakes, spicy curry mix or hot paprika
- 2 Tbsp fresh parsley (optional)
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
- salt and pepper
- 1 block extra-firm tofu, drained and dried *
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
In a soup pot, heat the coconut oil over medium heat until nice and hot, then add the onions and shallots and cook, stirring, until translucent (7 or 8 minutes should do it). Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute or two, stirring often, until aromatic. Stir in the cumin, coriander and chili flakes, and cook for another minute. Now add the carrots, and mix to combine with the spices and veggies.
Turn up the heat to high and add the broth. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer, add the juice from the orange, a bit of salt and pepper, and leave to bubble gently for about 30 minutes, or until carrots are really tender. Once the soup has reduced and carrots are soft, remove the pot from the heat and, using an immersion blender (or a traditional standing variety), blend the soup until very smooth. Taste, and adjust the seasonings as you like. Ladle into bowls, and sprinkle some fresh chopped parsley over each, then a spoonful of toasted pumpkin seeds.
*For the tofu: cut your block into 1/2 inch slices, and press between several layers of paper towels for 20 minutes or so, changing the towels as they soak through. Cut the tofu into small cubes. Heat the coconut oil in a pan over high heat, and when it’s very hot, add a handful of cubes (just enough to cover the base of the pan — don’t crowd them!), and flip them every minute or two so they crispy evenly. Remove with a slotted spatula to a plate lined with paper towels, and repeat with the next batch until all the tofu is fried. Sprinkle a bit of sea salt over the plate of fried tofu, and spoon some over each bowl.
Serves 6 as an appetizer, 4 as a main course