Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Ancient Carrot Soup

It never occurred to me to revisit my recipe for carrot and potato soup until I spotted something at the Cold Storage in the "new" Jaya Shopping Centre.

Purple carrots.

Lead "actors": potatoes and purple carrots

Oh, how novel, you might say. But I remember reading from somewhere that carrots come in several colours, like corn and rice, and was apparently what the ancients used to eat. And it seems that the lobak ori were mostly purple ones, and the modern orange carrots are mutants, widely cultivated for economic reasons.

The colour of purple carrots indicates its anthocyanin content. Reputed to be a powerful antioxidant, anthocyanins are also found in a variety of food, such as purple corn, blackberries, eggplant peel, Concord grapes, black rice and black glutinous rice. However, the actual contributions of food-based anthocyanins to one's health haven't been concretely substantiated.

Veggies getting tossed with the aromatics before the main event

But, mmm, purple carrots. And a purple carrot soup makes an interesting talking point, even if the nutritional value is hyped up.

Three small potatoes, three small purple carrots (not expensive), shallots, garlic, mixed herbs and the usual seasoning, plus a little pre-packed vegetable stock (250ml; they ran out of bigger packages).

First, the sautéing of the aromatics. After which, the vegetables - peeled and diced - were added.

When the veggies were ready, I poured in the vegetable stock plus some water and brought the whole thing to a boil. After which, it simmered for about 10 or 15 minutes, during which I added black pepper, a bit of salt and the mixed herbs.

ROILING HELLBROTH (and yes, the stovetops need cleaning - done that)

Getting it to cool before the blending took longer. What you get is something that resembles black glutinous rice dessert, albeit a few shades lighter, due to the potatoes. The spuds also provide the starch to thicken it, so no need for cream, yogurt and the like.

The blended stuff goes back into the pot and heated up till it bubbles. Don't let it bubble for long; as soon as you see a few of those pop, stir and stir for a bit and take it off the heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

The soup, like Zhang Ziyi says in her Visa commercial, was a bit "too sahltee." I think the heat must've dulled the tastebuds; the saltiness was more evident when the soup cooled. Should I have tasted the stock first to check? Maybe.

I think the soup also needed more carrot, less potato, and a shorter cooking time. A few bits of raw purple carrot on top - plus some croutons or toasted baguette slices - wouldn't have been out of place, either.

Blended and brought to a boil: Carrot Soup of the Ancients

So yes, ancient purple carrots. I think they should be on supermarket shelves - and salad bowls - everywhere.


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