The act of making soup in the middle of the week is a perfect relaxant, no drugs required. Even though a bowl of hearty nourishing soup can take just 45 minutes from chopping board to table you feel like you have accomplished a task that should have taken all day. We are just recovering from the shock of going back to work after two long weekends back-to-back – serendipitous events of the calendar happen every now and again – and that shock requires soothing, seemingly labour-intensive-but-not-really recipes to help us sink back into the rhythm of the week.
When I saw this easy spicy carrot soup recipe while paging through a neglected cookbook that has now found itself shuffled over to the cottage by the bay I knew I had the perfect back-to-work dinner recipe. All the ingredients were in the cupboard already and I had only to chop and sauté for a few moments before I could leave the pot bubbling away merrily to itself. A shower and change out of my running clothes, and a welcome home kiss for Chris later and the soup was thick and ready to be ladled generously into bowls and be anointed with a final drizzle of coconut milk. In the dark of the night in our little house we slurped and dipped and nourished ourselves with conversation and spicy sweet soup. Every day is like a weekend when you share a meal with the one you love.
This Curried Carrot, Lentil, and Coconut Soup is thick and slightly chunky, layered with spices, and slightly sweetened by light coconut milk. It comes together in barely the time it takes to unpack the groceries. Once you have softened the onions and leeks you add the rest of the ingredients and let it simmer away. Thirty minutes later you add the coconut milk, ladle the soup into your favourite bowls, and serve with an extra drizzle of coconut milk and maybe some toast (or bacon as Chris enjoyed his). Then, enjoy.
Curried Carrot, Lentil, and Coconut Soup
Adapted from Delicious: Home Cooking by Valli Little
Vegan. Gluten Free. Serves 4 generously.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small brown onion, chopped
- 2 leeks (white parts only), chopped
- 5 large carrots, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 teaspoons mild curry powder (I used Keen’s)
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 cup red lentils
- 4 1/2 cups vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup light coconut milk, plus extra to serve
- Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and leek and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes until the onion is softened but not colouring.
- Add carrots, garlic, spices, tomato paste, lentils, and vegetable stock. Stir well.
- Bring soup to the boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes stirring occasionally.
- When the carrot is well softened and the tender red lentils have broken down the soup is ready. I mashed mine slightly with a potato masher, you can use a stick blender to purée to a smooth consistency, but I like my soup a little chunky and textured.
- Stir through coconut milk and ladle into bowls. Drizzle over extra coconut milk to serve.
- The leftovers will keep for 2 days covered in the refrigerator. Reheat well before eating.
Random Thoroughly Nourished Family story: When my mother was born the doctor thought she was jaundiced because she was orange all over; however, it turns out it was actually carotenaemia caused by my grandmother’s insatiable appetite for carrots while she was pregnant. Or so the family legend goes. The result of this incident is that my mother now refuses to eat any orange vegetables: pumpkin, sweet potato, carrots – anything that lies on the spectrum between red and yellow is not on her menu. Except pumpkin soup (secretly I think this is because it is an excuse to eat lots of bread and butter all in the name of ‘dipping’…this may be genetic…).