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Thai-Inspired Creamy Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup with Mixed Mushrooms

Thai-Inspired Creamy Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup

In the cold autumn and winter months, there is nothing quite like a creamy vegetable soup made up of root vegetables and earthy mushrooms, all simmered together with spicy Thai seasonings that initially tempt and then pleasantly linger on the palate. The lasting allure is beautifully tempered by the soothing presence of coconut milk and the natural sweetness of sweet potatoes and carrots. This soup speaks comfort. It also makes a fair amount, so it's great for leftovers the next day, especially as the flavors meld together after the soup has been resting overnight.

I do like a thick and creamy soup, but as is usually the case, soups are not only forgiving, but also very easy to adjust to suit preferences, so thin out the soup as much or as little as desired. Serve it up with grains, flat breads, or even some thick slices of crusty bread.

Ingredients:
  • 1 oz (30g) mixed mushrooms (I used shiitake and porcini), soaked for 20 to 25 minutes, drained and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sesame or olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1-inch fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste, or to taste
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetables stock, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 cups almond butter
  • 14 oz (400 mL) coconut milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon tamari (soy) sauce
  • 1/2 cup dried red lentils, rinsed
  • 3 cups carrots, diced
  • 3 cups sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • juice from 1 lime (2 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • small bunch of cilantro or parsley, finely chopped for garnish (optional)
  • finely chopped roasted tamari almonds for garnish (optional)
  • vegan Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)*
Instructions:
  • Soak the dried mushrooms in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes, then drain and roughly chop. Set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat. When hot, add the onion, garlic and ginger, and sauté for 5 minutes or until the onion begins to soften. Stir in the curry paste and stir and fry for another minute.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the almond butter into a little of the vegetable stock until smooth. Pour into the pot, along with the remaining stock, coconut milk, tamari, lentils, carrots, sweet potatoes and spices. Stir well and bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add half of the mushrooms, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Blend the soup until smooth or partially smooth as desired in batches using a countertop blender or in the pot with an immersion blender. Add the rest of the mushrooms, lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Add more stock if necessary. Return to the stove and simmer for another few minutes.
  • Serve hot garnished with fresh chopped cilantro or parsley, chopped tamari almonds or vegan Parmesan cheese. Suggested serving accompaniments: Sri Lankan coconut roti and hot fresh cooked brown rice.
  • Notes: Garnishing the soup with roughly chopped roasted tamari almonds adds texture along with a complementary salty component.
  • Instead of discarding the mushroom soaking liquid, use some in the soup in place of the stock for extra mushroom flavor.
  • *To make vegan Parmesan cheese, simply grind raw cashews and almonds, nutritional yeast and sea salt into a fine meal. It keeps so well in the refrigerator that I make up enough have on hand when desired. My measurements yielding just under a cup of Parmesan: 1/2 cup cashews, 1/3 cup almonds, 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast and a few pinches of sea salt.

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