I am one of those people who like cilantro. Cilantro is a love it or hate it kind of thing. Thankfully the herby leaf it offers to 50% of the population who enjoy it, also comes with a seed. Coriander, which the seed more commonly goes by, lends a refreshing and slightly citrusy flavour. Blended with other spices, coriander is perfect and essential for milder curry combinations.
Common yellow curry is the key to this soup. Spices like coriander, along with tumeric, cumin, mustard seed, cloves, red pepper and fennel might seem like a lot but the complexities of each spice together make for a wonderful flavour combination added to so many dishes, including the humble winter carrot.
Earthy and dense, these bright reminders of a summer past wait anxiously in the root cellar to come alive again. Flavour packed and vitamin rich carrots along with the zip of curry does us a great justice to blasting the February blahs.
My father in law is a master at soup and a farmer’s market frequenter. With a constant variety of seasonal vegetables, he has shown me tons about eating locally. This is an adaptation of the soup I’d recently devoured at his home.
CURRIED CARROT SOUP
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion, finely chopped
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Stalks Celery
8 cups of Water or Vegetable Stock
3 Lbs Carrots, about 6 large ones, grated
1 Tablespoon Yellow Curry Powder
1/2 teaspoon Fennel Seed, ground with a mortar pestle
1/4 teaspoon Ground Red Chilies, or to taste
1 teaspoon Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
Juice of 1 Lemon
Heat the oil in a large stock pot.
Sauté the onion and garlic over medium-high heat until soft, taking care not to scorch the garlic.
Roughly chop the celery stalks into thirds and add to the onions along with the grated carrots.
Pour over the water, bring to boil.
Add the curry powder, ground fennel, chilies, salt and pepper.
Simmer for approximately 20 minutes.
Purée using a immersion or traditional blender, in batches until smooth.
Stir in the lemon juice and readjust salt and pepper, if necessary.
Top with chopped cilantro. (If you like it.)