Wednesday 8 April 2009

Carrot Miso Soup

There is nothing like a kitchen disaster to make me appreciate it when a soup works. I chanced upon one of my older Vegetarian Times magazines (January 2009) and was inspired by some of the recipes.

The first recipe I attempted was a Tomato Quinoa Soup. It seemed a great way to use up some of the quinoa lingering in the pantry til I discovered it was infested and I had to throw it out. (A word of advice: don’t ever attempt to empty a cup of quinoa into the bin while holding a small baby – if you miss the bin, the grains roll everywhere!)

While Sylvia slept, I found myself cleaning out the shelf in the pantry containing all the bags of grains. A few grains had to be thrown out and a few had to go in the freezer to discourage any wayward weevils. The resulting soup had brown rice and the remainder of a bag of millet grains and reminded me of last year's Four Grain Tomato Soup – possibly because it was so stodgy. I didn’t even bother to take any photos of it. But I did take a photo of my grains shelf - this is the photo after it was cleaned up so you can imagine it was pretty bad before I cleaned it.

However, a few days later I tried another soup from the same magazine. The Carrot Miso Soup was unusual but delicious. It interested me because, although I am not keen on the idea of carrot soups, I was attracted to the interesting Asian ingredients.

I made some changes. I added an apple because it was there and some tofu to increase the protein. Next time I might be inclined to reduce the agave because I found myself needing to add a bit of tamari to reduce the sweetness. Unfortunately I forgot to add the rice nor could I find a leek in the supermarket. The recipe also called for wasabi peas as a garnish but I chose to add a little chilli to the soup and garnish with arame because I have always thought carrot and seaweed go together well.

I was delighted with the result. I didn’t think that the kombu gave a strong flavour but the miso, rice vinegar and tamari imparted an ever so slightly sour taste. It still as also on the sweet side but very tasty. And I loved the additional texture of the thin strands of arame mixed through it. Not only delicious, but it is also a healthy, low-fat soup. (I am a bit confused if white miso is gluten free - I think so and have labelled it gluten free but please let me know if it isn't.)

I don’t think it was E’s idea of a meal and I ate most of it for lunch. But we did have some as sauce over a nutroast, which we both enjoyed. It is good to feel I am getting some value for my VT subscription - makes me think I should find some other archive copies of the magazine and use more recipes.

Carrot Miso Soup
(adapted from Vegetarian Times, January 2009)
serves 4-5 for lunch or starter

1 tbsp canola oil
1 medium leek (I used 1 red onion), chopped
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1 tbsp rice vinegar
750g carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
350g firm tofu
1 apple, peeled and chopped (optional)
3 tbsp jasmine rice (I forgot)
1 piece of kombu (4 x 2 inch)
2 tbsp white miso
2 tsp agave nectar (or less)
½ tsp chilli paste
1 tbsp tamari (or less)
Arame, to serve

Fry the leek (or onion) and garlic in oil in a large saucepan for 5-10 minutes until soft. Deglaze pan with rice vinegar. Add carrots, tofu, apple, rice and kombu. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 30 minutes or until carrots soft. Remove kombu. Use a handheld blender to puree til smooth (this took me a little longer then usual to blend the tofu). Place a ladle of soup in a small bowl and mix in miso til smooth. Add to soup. Add agave, chilli paste and tamari to taste. Stir well. Serve warm with a spoonful of arame on the soup.

On the stereo:
Singles: New Order


  1. As someone who suffered evil weevils a few weeks ago I feel your pain. I'm still grabbing containers of lentils and cracked wheat out of the freezer after the obligatory weevil freeze (just in case!).

    This soup sounds wonderful. I'm not a big fan of soup but I love carrot juice and I love miso so I'm definitely going to try it (minus the tofu, much to my eternal sadness).

  2. Using it as sauce over a nut loaf, I like that a lot. I'm sure it's good as a soup too.
    I always find carrots very sweet so I could easily see cutting the sweetener.
    Great photo.

  3. I recently cleaned out some of my cupboards too. Must be the Spring bug hitting me.

    This is one gorgeous soup, and you provide an excellent description.

    Interestingly enough, I just made a soup with Miso too - a mushroom one.

  4. That does sound like a really interesting soup, and I like the addition of apple. I can just imagine those quinoa going all over the place as you hang on to Sylvia! I had a similar experience (the grain part, not the baby part) a few years ago and literally screamed out loud when I realized what those little dark things were in the grains!

  5. Hmmm I have a huge packet of miso paste that needs using up. Perhaps I'll make this soup!

  6. I've never been a fan of cooked carrots, but this actually sounds quite delicious!

  7. I love carrot soups - they are just so colorful and inviting.

  8. I love miso carrot combo, and your addition of apple! Your photo is exceptionally gorgeous, too... So smooth and enticing...

  9. i have all the ingredients. will try it over the weekend. kombu in mine, not in jai's. he doesn't like fishy smelling stuff. hope sylvia's having fun in the kitchen with mommy. :)

  10. Thanks Vegetation - your post reminded me about the freezer warding off weevils so was useful - the original recipe didn't have tofu but I wondered if it would be as thick without tofu

    Thanks Tanna - was pleased it doubled as a sauce - versatile!

    Thanks Lisa - your miso mushroom soup sounds most enticing

    Thanks Ricki - it is the cobwebby look that always gives it away for me which seems to look a bit spooky in a disturbing way

    Thankd Lorraine - miso is always good in soups

    Thanks Jodye - I recommend you this soup as I am a little wary of carrot soups but this one really tasted great (I think the apple helped change the flavour too)

    Thanks Jenn - the colour is always delightful - one of the great things about carrots

    Thanks Astra Libra - I was a little concerned that the soup might be quite curdled looking when I started to blend it as the tofu took a little while to blend

    Thanks Bee - hope you enjoy it - the kombu is in the 'stock' but it doesn't have a strong taste - but the arame on top would probably be too much for Jai

  11. I made this tonight & I loved it!!!! Yum!


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