This recipe first appeared in 'A Dozen Ways to Celebrate: Twelve Decadent Indian Feasts for the Culinary Indulgent' (2014)
Soup is an easy go-to dish in my home, and I make many versions with basic ingredients. On one visit to my local ethnic market, I found little rhizomes of fresh turmeric and mango-turmeric sitting innocuously alongside fresh ginger. It was an absolute treat to see them, because they are seasonal produce and remind me of the traditional fresh pickles that my mother makes in the winter months. They are tart and astringent, mild yet flavorful, and have a dull lemony fragrance. When cracked open, they reveal their bright orange yellow core. I was making a carrot soup with quinoa that evening and decided to try combining flavors, and what a pleasant discovery!
If you are unable to find mango-ginger at the grocers ask when they will carry them or if they can bring you a couple of rhizomes. A little goes a long way. Although the flavors are not the same, if mango-turmeric is not available, use regular ginger instead.
To see the difference between the different kinds of ginger, see this visual.
Carrot & Fresh Turmeric Soup With Quinoa
Makes: Twelve servings; 45 calories ea.
Diet: Vegan adaptable, Vegetarian adaptable, Gluten-free
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time, Ease: 30 minutes, Moderately easy
2-3 cups water
1-2 garlic cloves
1 large white or yellow onion, chopped into large chunks
2 large Roma tomatoes, cored and cut into large chunks
1 lb organic carrots, chopped into large chunks
1 tbsp butter
1" mango-turmeric, peeled and julienned fine
OR ½" fresh ginger, julienned fine
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 large Indian bay leaf
½ tsp cayenne pepper powder
32-oz container of vegetable or chicken stock
¼ cup raw red quinoa
Salt, to taste
¼ cup fresh cream
Fresh basil leaves
Place the garlic, onions, tomatoes and carrots in a large stockpot and cover with just enough water to reach the tops of the vegetables. Boil until the vegetables are tender. Let the liquid cool, and puree everything using an immersion blender until smooth. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a large stockpot, and add the julienned turmeric and mango-turmeric (or ginger), letting it release its flavors. If using mango-turmeric, the butter will turn an orange yellow. Add the peppercorns and Indian bay leaf, and stir well. Add the cayenne pepper powder and dissolve it into the hot butter. Slowly pour in the vegetable puree along with its own stock. Stir in well. Once the spices have combined, slowly add additional vegetable or chicken stock and bring to a boil. When the soup is bubbling, sprinkle in the quinoa and stir a few times to ensure that it is well dispersed. Continue to cook until the “tail” of the quinoa emerges, about 20 minutes. Season with salt. Serve with a splash of fresh cream and a few fresh basil leaves.
In 2018, fresh turmeric roots are available in most grocery stores that carry organic produce. Packaged in neat clamshells, these are sold by Melissa's Produce and are a worthy inclusion in your next soup dish.