Carrot and Cardamom Soup with Coconut Milk

Cardamom is a new-ish spice for me – I mean I’ve known about it for ages, but haven’t cooked with it much before. But I’ve always loved the smell of it. Have you ever smelt a handful of cardamom pods? It is heavenly! It has a very intense aromatic fragrance and is commonly used in Indian cooking, particularly in sweet dishes.

There are two varieties of Cardamom – green and black, although the green is more commonly used. It can be bought in pods, or pre-ground, however pre-ground cardamom quickly looses its flavor so it is better (and cheaper!) to buy it in pod-form and grind as required (although certain recipes use whole pods). Having said that, grinding cardamom at home can be a little fiddly, since you don’t grind the entire pod, only the seeds inside. To get to the little seeds, I used a pair of scissors to crack open each individual pod (I’m sure there must be an easier way!) to take the seeds out. Once I had my little collection of seeds, the grinding part was easy – I just used a coffee grinder.

Anyhow…. 🙂 … by the time I’d ground my cardamom, my fingers, the scissors, the coffee grinder, the whole kitchen in fact….smelt amazing!

Carrot and Cardamom Soup w/ Coconut Milk

2 tablespoons oil (ghee/coconut oil)
1 medium onion, diced
1 lb carrots (about 5 medium carrots), peeled and sliced
1/2 head of small/medium cauliflower, chopped*
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamom (green, not black)
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
Red pepper flakes (to taste)
1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon sea salt (depending on taste)
3-4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock (depending on how thick you like the soup)
1 cup coconut milk

1. Heat oil in a large pot. Add onion and sauté until golden.
2. Add the carrots, cauliflower, garlic, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, red pepper flakes and salt. Cook for a couple minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant.
3. Add the stock, bring to a simmer, and simmer for about 25-30 minutes, until the carrots are tender.
4. Puree the soup until smooth, using either an immersion blender or other blender.
5. Stir in the cup of coconut milk.
6. Serve with a drizzle of coconut milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

*Note: I have a thing about using only carrots – I feel the need to balance it out with a less sweet vegetable, and I like using cauliflower because its nutritious and doesn’t have a strong taste of its own. If you don’t want to use cauliflower, add another couple of carrots.

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