Carrots again !?! You might ask . . .
Yes, carrots again . . . this is what happens when you buy a big bag of any ingredient. Obviously, things are less expensive when you buy them in bulk, and if you want to be sustainable in your cooking, then it does not pay to let the extras go to waste. Soups are a great way to use up large amounts of vegetables that need cooking.
This recipe for Carrot, Ginger & Miso Soup, from Dish magazine, combines the carrots with traditionally Japanese flavors. Miso is a Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting rice, barley, soybeans, salt and a particular fungus called kōjikin. The result is a thick paste, that is high is protein and rich in vitamins and minerals, used for sauces, spreads, pickling vegetables or meats, and mixing with soup stock. Miso played an important nutritional role in feudal Japan, and is still widely used, both in traditional and modern Japanese cooking. Typically, miso is salty, but its flavor and aroma depend on various factors in the ingredients and fermentation process. There is a wide variety of miso available, and different varieties of miso can be described as salty, sweet, earthy, fruity, and savory. I tend to always keep Miso in the fridge, as miso soup makes a great quick meal, and it can be used to add flavor and protein into many dishes, both in Japanese cuisine and more western modern vegetarian cooking.
Just a quick tip . . . if you have left over fresh ginger, pop it into the freezer. Once frozen it will last for months, and when used in cooking the frozen ginger thaws and has the same robust flavor as when it was fresh. This trick can also be used for saving chilli peppers.
Carrot, Ginger & Miso Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 5 cm or 1 in piece of fresh ginger
- 1 kg or 2.2 lbs carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1/4 cup white miso paste
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- sea salt and crushed black pepper to taste
- toasted sesame seeds, spring onions, and sesame oil for garnish
Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over a high heat.
Add the onion, garlic and ginger, and cook for 4-5 minutes, until softened.
Add the carrots and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes.
Add the miso paste and vegetable stock, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until carrots are tender.
Blend until smooth, and then divide into bowls for serving.
Garnish with the spring onion, a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds, and a drizzle of sesame oil.