Winter is almost here and all the root vegetables are in their seasonal prime. I firmly believe that eating seasonal is the way of balance and the way nature intended, and soups are a wonderful, warming way of benefiting from the nourishment provided by root vegetables. Some might say soups are a more appetising way to consume your vegetables. Indeed, you can jazz them up with other ingredients, like with my curried parsnip soup!
Parsnips are a member of the carrot family. Like carrots, they can be eaten cooked or raw. Their flavour is earthy but sweet and cooking enhances their sweetness.
Health-wise, parsnips are a good source of fibre and low in calories.
With my curried parsnip soup, the mild curry powder gives this soup a bit of a kick and brings out the sweetness of the parsnips. The fresh curry leaves impart not only a wonderful fragrance but also add colour, texture and flavour. If you would like to know a bit more about the curry leaf plant, I talk about it in my potato and greens salad with an Indian pickle dressing recipe. I'd highly recommend getting one of these plants for your window sill. Parsnips are so creamy when cooked and pureed, there is no need to add any cream or a thickening agent to this soup. I know that coconut milk is a popular addition to soup recipes. It will introduce another flavour level so I'll leave it up to you, if you want to add it.
This is a simple one-pot soup that is so easy to make. There really is no need for the canned variety. This way you can control what's in it and not worry about excessive salt and sugar. Its always much more fun being creative.
Here is a video guide to making your curried parsnip soup.
Curried Parsnip Soup
- Digital scales
- Blender or Food processor
- 650 gms Parsnip
- 120 gms Red onion
- 15 gms Garlic
- 5 gms Ginger
- 1 Bay leaf
- 6 Peppercorns
- 2 teaspoon Mild Curry powder
- 1 litre Vegetable Stock or Water
- 1 tablespoon Oil
- Salt to taste
Tadka garnish ( optional )
- 1 teaspoon Brown or Black mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon Oil
- 1 stem Fresh Curry leaves
- Roughly dice the onions and roughly chop up the ginger and garlic.
- Peel the parsnips and top and tail them. Cut in half lengthwise and then slice them evenly and not too thinly (approx 0.5cm slices)
- Heat the oil in a pot over a medium / high heat. Add the bay leaf and peppercorns.
- Immediately add the onions, garlic and ginger and sauté for a couple of minutes until the onions are soft.
- Add the parsnips and saute for 5 minutes or so.
- Add the curry powder and saute for 3 minutes.
- Add the vegetable stock (using stock makes the soup more flavourful) or water. Check the recipe notes for a link to my home-made vegetable stock.
- Bring to a boil, then turn down to a medium heat and cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the parsnips are soft.
- Set aside to cool and then puree.
- When ready to serve, heat up again.
- Serve garnished with curry leaf and mustard tadka. This is optional, but highly recommended.
Tadka or garnish ( optional )
- Heat oil in a small pan until it is hot.
- Add the mustard seeds.
- The moment they pop, turn down the heat and add the curry leaves.
- Give it a good mix. This will crisp up the curry leaves.
- Add the garnish to the soup and serve hot.
Curried Parsnip Soup Recipe Notes
If you don't have access to fresh curry leaves, it's better not to use dried curry leaves. Perhaps its best to alter the flavour a bit and use fresh coriander or dill.
Tadka is oil infused with cooked spices. Also, it refers to the actual technique of cooking spices in oil in order to enhance their flavour by releasing their essential oils. I recommend black or brown mustard seeds, as yellow mustard seeds don't work well because they may add bitterness. Be careful when the mustard seeds pop, they usually end up everywhere! The process of tadka is very quick, so have everything ready before you heat up the oil.
Why not try to make your own vegetable stock?
If you find that the soup is too thick for you, please add some water or vegetable stock to thin it down.
This curried parsnip soup freezes well so you can batch cook, portion, and store in the freezer in an airtight container for up to three months. Defrost in the fridge overnight before use, and bring to boil before consuming.