I eat a LOT of soup. They’re so simple to make, so full of flavor, and they last a good part of the week for me to pack up for work. Plus they’re cheap to make. This one in particular is a great way to use up that two pound bag of carrots you bought, only to use half of one, for this. Or that bag of baby carrots you bought to eat with hummus, but then ended up eating said hummus with Triscuits instead. But you know, this soup is good enough to go out and pick up some carrots if, unlike me, you actually use your carrots up as you buy them.
It starts out commonly enough, with garlic, onion and celery over medium-low heat to sweat. Add your peeled and chopped carrots, chili, and ginger. Cover with stock, and simmer for 45 minutes while you finish watching Iron Chef America. Stir in soy, peanut butter, sugar, sesame oil, and milk. Puree.
I made a few adjustments which I think improve the flavor and texture of the soup. First, the recipe specifies that you peel and slice the ginger. I prefer to simply smash it with the flat of my knife, as I would garlic, and pull out the piece before you puree everything. The first time I made this, I peeled and sliced it. The resulting soup was stringy from the root, and was actually really annoying. I tried straining it, but it was too thin for my liking.* Also, I pretty much always have some amount of coconut milk hanging around the fridge needing to be used up, so I pretty much always sub out some of the cow’s milk with coconut. Okay, more SouthEast Asia than South China, but then, do they really have Jif over there? Oh, and obviously didn’t garnish with sour cream, but with black sesame seeds, scallion, and another drizzle of sesame oil. (Incidentally, after eating this, I didn’t really like the green onion interfering with my velvety soup. So I don’t do that anymore.)
This is a relatively light soup, so you may want something else to go with it. If I’m having it for dinner I’m pretty satisfied with a bowl and an apple afterwards, but then I’m never really that hungry after work. If I’m having it for lunch, it’s most likely accompanied by Tater Tots or fishsticks or mini corn dogs. (Seriously, I suck at this whole self control thing these days. No matter how shitty school lunch is that day, I can’t resist it.) But to each his own.
*I actually took the strained soup and added some more milk (it’s a little spicy) and poured it into Parker’s sippy for breakfast in the car. (This would have been a GREAT idea if I had thought to put a bib on him.) I’ve also poured some of the soup over steamed broccoli and tofu over sticky rice for dinner for him. Easy peasy.