A lightly-spiced soup of sweet carrots, musky cumin and bright lime. A garnish of fresh coriander and sizzled cumin seeds adds a delicious depth of flavour.
This soup contains a classic, yet intriguing, combination of flavours. Carrots can be fairly insipid vegetables, which rarely take the centre stage. It is more typical to use them as an aromatic base that provides background notes. For example, in French cooking many dishes are begun by sweating carrot, onion and celery (mirepoix). The earthy flavour of cumin contrasts with the natural sweetness of carrots, while a squeeze of lime juice added at the end of cooking provides a fresh burst of sourness.
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil (I used olive oil)
- 2 onions (260g), peeled and finely chopped
- 2 celery sticks, sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 900g carrots (about 8), peeled and chopped into 2 cm cubes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
- 1 litre (1 3/4 pints) of homemade chicken stock (use vegetable stock for a vegan option)
- Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
- fresh coriander leaves, torn
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- Heat the cooking oil in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the onion and celery and sweat, uncovered, for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent but not browned.
- Add the garlic and cumin and fry for 1 minute, stirring constantly so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the lime juice (carrots, bay leaf, salt, pepper and stock). Cover, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer until the carrots are fork tender – about 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the garnish. Heat a small frying pan over a medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, and dry fry for 30 seconds, or until they release a fragrant aroma. Add the olive oil and fry for another 30 seconds. Turn off the heat and leave to infuse.
- Transfer the soup to a blender in batches, and blitz to the smooth puree. Stir in half the lime juice. Taste, and add more lime juice and seasoning if necessary.
- Ladle the soup into bowls. Drizzle over the cumin seeds and oil, and then scatter over the coriander leaves.