Curried Carrot Soup with Toasted Pepitas

Curried Carrot Soup with Toasted Pepitas

The return from the holiday season in the U.S. to our regular rhythm has set in quietly (albeit, as always, a bit too soon). I’m finding comfort in the routines. Early alarms and dark morning walks to the gym again define the start to my days and simple dinners at our kitchen counter conclude them.

Despite this peaceful return to the normalcy of everyday, I can’t help but feel a sense of unsettledness. Perhaps it’s the turn of the page on the calendar or even the subtle transition has cooled the air in our hot city, but I’m restless over something I cannot pin down. I have the sense that there is something I have overlooked – that feeling you get when you know there is a bill unpaid or an appointment missed. In search of a cure, I cleaned out cabinets and scanned checklists. I arrived at work early this week, ready to tackle some unproclaimed, lurking task. But still, the feeling lingers.

I am not one who tends to resolve to make big changes in January, although I embrace the sense of a fresh start. Instead, for me, January is a month for simplifying, slowing down, and embracing the familiar. Perhaps I’ll find that unpaid bill or missed appointment and feel a sense of relief, but I’m not holding my breath. I suspect it is something bigger. I am hopeful that it will be something extraordinary.

In the meantime, I’m loving that familiar, brushing our teeth, reading books on the couch, kitchen-counter-dinner rhythm. I’m loving this place, with its IKEA bar stools and dishes piled in the sink, that Frank and I are simply ourselves, simply content to be embraced into the folds of the everyday.

Maybe was always a foregone conclusion after two years of living in Thailand, but I submit that everything is made better with coconut milk.  Soups in this country are remarkable things, intensely flavored with rich broths, fresh spices, and often, with sweet, creamy coconut milk.  The fresh stuff has consistently proven to be an odyssey for me to obtain, but I keep the infinitely more accessible store-bought variety in my pantry all the time.  It makes me think that veganism wouldn’t be half bad.  I’d take coconut milk over the dairy version just about any day of the week.

I made carrot soup twice last week.  The first version was pretty standard – a bit of cumin, but no cream or milk.  It was good, and we ate every last spoonful, but it left me wanting more.  Something with the slightest indication of heat and even more fragrant spice to complement the carrots.  Something with coconut milk.  The carrots really found their groove in this version of the soup.  It was a subtle shift that made a huge difference.  And don’t miss those pepitas (pumpkin seeds) on top – they are toasty and crunchy and pretty, to boot.

 

Curried Carrot Soup with Toasted Pepitas
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A simple carrot soup with extra flavor from curry and coconut milk and added crunch from pepitas (pumpkin seeds). Perfect for a weeknight dinner, but it only gains more flavor if made ahead and kept in the fridge overnight.
Author:
Recipe type: Soup, Vegetarian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • ½ cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 2.5 pounds carrots, diced
  • 1 regular yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. yellow curry powder (see note)
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • ⅔ cup light coconut milk
  • Juice squeezed from ½ small lime
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Plain yogurt, for topping (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place a soup pot over medium heat. Heat 1 tsp. olive oil and add the pepitas. Cook the pepitas, stirring frequently, until they turn golden and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Transfer the pepitas to a paper towel to cool. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Return the pot to the burner and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  2. Add the carrots to the pot and cook until they begin to soften and look damp, about 5 minutes. Add onions, curry powder, and cayenne and sauté until the onions become soft, 5 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer, cover and cook until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer soup to a blender in batches (or use an immersion blender in the pot) and blend until very smooth. Return the soup to the pot and heat just until it begins to bubble. Turn off the heat and add the coconut milk, lime juice, and salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately, topped with a drizzle of plain yogurt and the toasted pepitas.
Notes
I used mild yellow curry powder (such as Madras powder) in my version, but you could easily use just about any variety of curry paste in this recipe – red, yellow, or panang (available in the Asian sections of many grocery stores) would all be wonderful and each would produce a unique flavor.

 

Comments

  1. says

    I hear ya sister – January is my time to slow down in life. relax, stretch, unwind. and with the frigid temps outside, I want to cozy up with a huge bowl of this comforting creamy carrot soup. it looks incredible and the toasted pepitas on top give a wonderful textural balance and crunch. beautiful photo, too!
    sally @ sallys baking addiction recently posted..soft-baked monster cookies.My Profile

    • says

      So many people come into the new year with so much energy, Sally – I’m glad I’m not the only one that has to catch their breath this time of year. Stay warm – I’ve been hearing from friends in your neck of the woods that it’s been chilly! My gmail still thinks I’m in DC, so the background gets decidedly blustery this time of year. ;)

  2. kristine says

    awesome recipe for our snowy boston day today. our favorite soup place here has amazing carrot curry soup – my fav. xo.

    • says

      Ashley – isn’t that bowl great? I bought it in Chiang Mai a couple years ago and wish I had picked up a few more. Hindsight – sheesh. Once you start using coconut milk in cooking, it’s hard to go back – I’ve yet to try baking with it, but I’ve seen so many great sweets that use the stuff!

    • says

      Hooray for home delivery produce! I’ve got to sign back up for mine, but we did always seem to get some amazing carrots in our deliveries! They’re so pretty when they’re pulled right out of the ground with all their greens attached (not to mention that I read you can make a great pesto out of those greens….although I have yet to try it).

  3. says

    That bowl is gorgeous! We’re on a major soup kick here too, and I made an eerily similar curried pumpkin soup with coconut milk and lime for dinner on Sunday. I love coconut milk in soups, and I always feel that it needs just a splash of acidity to cut through the richness . January has been off to a ferocious start here, but that’s student life!
    Katie (The Muffin Myth) recently posted..Live Well – starting a running programMy Profile

    • says

      Katie – I couldn’t agree more. For so long, I underestimated what a difference that little bit of acidity makes, but it completely changes the flavor and overall feel of so many dishes. Hang in – hopefully you were able to feel a bit rested before being thrown back into the school routine!

  4. Cynthia says

    Made this for dinner tonight and my picky five year old declared it was ” so yummy ” and asked if I could make it every night!!! He hasn’t said that since I made box Mac n cheese in a pinch…

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