Carrot and Ginger Soup is by far my favourite quick and easy lunch. Served with a crusty bread slice on the side, it's delicious, soul-warming and brings back plenty of memories. The first time I ever tried this soup was during my university years some good 10 years ago. Wow, where does time fly?
The cold story of the warm carrot ginger soup
I remember that day so clearly, because it was a rainy, cold day in Manchester and I've forgotten my umbrella at home. I was at the library, working on my dissertation. Our library looked straight out of a Harry Potter movie: gothic interior with cold stone and excellent archways, contrasting the warm dark wood furniture housing books upon books with ancient knowledge, passed down through the art of writing.
I used to thrive there. The library was by far my favourite place in the world and hours would pass by me without me realising. Until I'd get hungry all of a sudden. But you know that deep hunger when you'd eat anything, especially you have a craving for sweets. That's your body telling you it needs fuel.
Lucky for me, we had a family-run small cafe right next to the library, where the products were very cheap. I'm talking about homemade carrot cake for as little as £0.70 and soup for £1.20. Those were the good old days, when, despite being as poor of a student as they get, I could still eat lunch for pennies. I'd have a routine too, soup, with a sandwich on the side, followed by carrot cake. Soup of the day was always so very good. One of the cooks was Carraibean so you can always expect secret spices buried in your food, while the other was a sweet old lady somewhere from SE Asia. Her delicious soups and summer rolls with the best carrot cake you could possibly eat.
I often wondered how they afforded to keep the place open, but oh how grateful were I for them and their cheap, delicious food. So one idle rainy day, went out to eat my usual. I remember getting to the place, were to the bone. I was cold, miserable and very, very hungry.
I ordered the soup of the day, with my sandwich and a slice of cake. Soup of the day is carrot ginger soup, said to me the cute old lady smiling with her eyes. Excellent never had that before, I reply, slightly impatient as I started to shiver.
Pouring outside, isn't it? Said the lady to me as she hands me the tray full of warm carrot ginger soup, grilled vegetable sandwich and carrot cake.
There, sit down there next to the radiator and warm up. Carrot ginger soup is good, warm and spicy. You'll warm up in no time.
I was excited to try the carrot ginger soup. Warm soup or warm tea tends to make everything in life better, especially when the rain got to you. But one spoonful of carrot ginger soup later really changed me. I realised then and there, I never really liked carrot soup before. But with the warmth from the ginger, this soup was indeed delicious.
I ate it in a heartbeat. I must have looked so funny, sitting by the radiator, cold and wet, gobbling up that carrot ginger soup like there is no tomorrow. After I finished my meal, I went back to the counter to ask the lady if she will make this again tomorrow. She asked me if I liked it that much, smiled really happy and said she will make sure to make some next week, same day. I was ecstatic like I won the lottery. Because trust me, after that day, carrot ginger soup became a staple dish in my house!
How to make quick and easy carrot ginger soup
For the last 10 years, I tried many versions of carrot ginger soup. some with dairy (before going plant-based) some with dairy-free milk alternatives. Oat milk is a good ingredient and the one I generally use for everything but not in this carrot ginger soup. No, this soup needs to be allowed to shine through the use of carrots and ginger only. Anything milky makes this soup to heavy for my liking. The trick to getting the best carrot ginger soup is to marry the two ingredients and elevate them with a low sodium vegetable stock and a little chilli for extra heat.
I do love my heat, so of course, there's going to be chilli in this soup. To make carrot ginger soup you need: 1 kg (2.2 pounds) carrots, 1 inch ginger, 3 garlic cloves, 1 chilli, 1.3 litres (6 cups) vegetable stock.
Grate the carrots, ginger and garlic. Heat up a little oil in a deep, non-stick saucepan. Add the ginger and garlic and thinly sliced chilli and fry them until fragrant. Shouldn't take more than 2 minutes. Add the carrot and fry a little longer. Mix the ingredients in the pan. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Using a handheld blender, blend the ingredients until you get your beautiful carrot ginger soup. You can decorate with black sesame seed and a little thinly sliced scallion.
Milder carrot ginger soup
If you don't want your carrot ginger soup to be spicy, you can leave out the chilli from the ingredients' list. Alternatively, you can leave the chilli whole, and poke some holes in it. Use it as above, but remove it from the pan before blending the ingredients. The soup will be just as tasty, but less spicy.
If you are wondering, I did go back to visit Manchester with my husband and show him around the library and the cafe. Sadly, the cafe doesn't exist anymore, but I heard from friends that the family moved to another English city and they started another cosy restaurant. That warmed my heart, just as much as their carrot ginger soup that day.
This recipe has been developed entirely by Yuzu Bakes. Any resemblance with other recipes is purely coincidental.