First off, I have to thank Cherylynn for turning me on to United Noodles. A wonderful Asian market in the area. I love Asian food, I'm actually going to try sake for the first time tomorrow - we'll see if I like Asian drinks as much.
Okay back to the recipe:
Thai-Style Carrot Soup
If you think of carrot soup as creamy and French, this will expand the concept for you. It's still creamy, but decidedly unFrench, with classic Southeast Asian flavors and even a little heat.
2 tablespoons peanut or neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn
3 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and bruised*, then cut into 2-inch lengths (*cutt off woody tops and peel tough outer layers; mince or pound the pieces to release their flavor and aroma. Soak dried lemongrass in hot water for at least 30 minutes before using.)
10 nickel-sized slices peeled ginger
2 cloves garlic, peeled
8 to 10 medium carrots (about 1 pound), cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt adn cayenne pepper, to taste
1 quart homemade coconut milk or 2 cans, slightly less than 1 quart, with a little water
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish, plus their stems
1 teaspoon sugar, if necessary
1 lime, quartered, for serving
1. Put the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the lemongrass, ginger, and garlic and cook, stirring and turning occasionally, until the garlic is golden, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the carrots, a large pinch of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon or so of cayenne. Cook for a minute, then add the coconut milk and 2 cups water. Add the cilantro stems. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer the soup for 15 minutes - bubbles should break the surface only occasionally - or until the carrots are tender. (You may prepare the soup in advance up to this point. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days before pureeing.)
3. Fish out the cilantro stems. Then use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pan. Or cool teh mixture slightly (hot soup is dangerous), pass it through a food mill or pour it into a blender, and puree carefully. Reheat as necessary, then taste and adjust the seasoning, adding salt, cayenne, and sugar if you think the soup needs it. Divide the soup into bowls, garnish with cilantro, and serve with lime wedges.
Makes: 4 servings
Time: 40 minutes
From: How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman