Making this soup is a lesson in balancing fresh and cooked flavor and seasoning based on taste. The base of the soup – onion, turmeric, carrots, coconut milk – would make a nice soup by itself, but it is definitely kicked up a notch by adding fresh flavors at the end. I like to incorporate fresh versions of ingredients cooked in the soup, like the carrots and turmeric. It helps to intensify both of those flavors and brightens up the dish. I then added two additional ingredients that I think almost every dish needs at the end – a little acidity and a little sweetness (a lot of dishes need extra salt too but I added plenty in the beginning). I chose apple cider vinegar and honey as I think they pair nicely with the other flavors but you can play around and try what you like (lemon juice or white wine vinegar in place of the apple cider vinegar and maple syrup or sorghum in place of the honey might be nice). Whichever route you decide to take, just taste, make small adjustments, and taste again. Enjoy!
Carrot & Turmeric Soup
makes about 4 servings for a main dish, 6 for a side dish
Recipe notes: 1) I found fresh turmeric at the farmers market a couple of weeks ago so have been using that over dried. If you don’t have access to fresh, use 1 teaspoon dried turmeric instead and add it all in the beginning with the garlic; 2) I preferred this soup the day after making it as the flavors had time to really blend and smooth out, but it was still very good the day of.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 3 teaspoons grated fresh turmeric, divided
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic (from about 2 medium cloves)
- 1-1/8 pound (about 6 medium) trimmed carrots, chopped into 1/2″ pieces, divided
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 3-4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- To serve: croutons and/or chives
- Heat oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan until shimmering. Add onion and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and just starting to brown, about 5-7 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons turmeric and garlic and stir frequently for 1 minute. Add 1 pound of carrots, water and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until the carrots are tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Transfer to a blender and add the remaining turmeric and carrots, 3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar and honey and puree until completely smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
One of our shareholders mentioned the idea of turning bitter melon into bread and butter pickles and I knew I had to make a version myself. I adapted this recipe from The America’s Test Kitchen Do-It-Yourself Cookbook (which I highly recommend!). You get the typical sweet-sour notes up front with bitterness from the melon on the back end. I have yet to use it with anything but here is a nice list of suggested uses. I think adding it to a German potato salad sounds pretty amazing!
Bread & Butter Bitter Melon Pickles
makes about 1 pint
- 1/2 pound bitter melon, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed and sliced 1/8″ thick
- 1 small onion, halved and sliced through root end into 1/8″ thick pieces
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated turmeric
- 1/8 teaspoon celery seeds
- Pinch ground cloves
- Toss bitter melon, onion and salt together in a colander and set over the sink or a bowl. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour. Rinse and drain vegetables well.
- Bring vinegar, water, sugar, mustard seeds, turmeric, celery seeds and cloves to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add vegetables, return to a boil, and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer pickles to a pint sized jar with a tight fitting lid. Pour hot brine over pickles and let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for 2 days before eating. Pickles can be refrigerated for up to 2 months.