I love parsnips although they are not widely used very much in Indian cuisine. Parsnips are a delicious root vegetable and a distant cousin of the familiar carrot. They have a wonderful taste & texture that works well in Indian recipes. Parsnips are thought to have originated in Europe. They are also very healthy & nutritious being a rich source of dietary fiber, calcium, folate, potassium & Vitamin A.
Parsnips have a lovely sweet taste which pairs well with warm Indian spices. I especially love parsnips in soups, so my Curried Coconut Parsnip Soup is a nice introduction to this humble vegetable.
CURRIED COCONUT PARSNIP SOUP
1 lb of parsnips, peeled & finely shredded (you can definitely use a food processor)
2-3 shallots, thinly sliced
2 stalks of young celery, finely chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, finely minced
˝” piece of fresh ginger, peeled & finely grated
˝ tsp red chili powder (to taste)
˝ tsp ground cumin powder
2 tsp of good quality curry powder
salt & black pepper, to taste
2 cups good quality stock (chicken or vegetable, you can also use water)
1 can of good quality coconut milk (you can use light coconut milk)
2 tbsp butter or oil (vegetable or canola)
pinch of smoked Spanish paprika
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
In a large soup pot on medium high heat, add the butter and when hot add the shallots. Sauté until just slightly browned and add the celery, garlic & grated ginger. Sauté for 3-4 minutes and add the spices (red chili powder ground cumin powder, curry powder, salt & black pepper). Stir and let cook for 5 minutes before adding in the shredded parsnips. Then add the stock (or water) & the coconut milk. Make sure there is enough liquid to cover, adding more stock (or water) if needed. Bring the mixture to a good boil, cover and reduce the heat. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes until the parsnips are tender.
Let the soup cool a bit and then puree until the desired texture and consistency is reached. A hand held immersion blender works best, but you can also use a regular blender or food processor. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. Garnish with the smoked Spanish paprika & freshly chopped cilantro leaves. Serve hot with toasted pita or naan wedges.
Feel free to add some more vegetables to this soup such as baby potatoes, fennel bulb or celery root.