Although parsnips are not commonly found in Indian cuisine, I happen to be a big fan of this humble root vegetable. Parsnips are in the same family as the more familiar carrot – in fact, they even look like carrots but are a much lighter cream color. Parsnips have a delicate sweet almost nutty flavor that seems to only be enhanced by cooking. If you’ve never had parsnips before, you really ought to give them a try – you’ll be happy you did ☺.
Parsnips are thought to have originated in Europe & its history can be traced back to the ancient Roman Empire. Parsnips are a good source of dietary fiber, calcium, folate, potassium & Vitamin C.
My Creamy Parsnip Soup will warm you up nicely on those chilly days; this is total comfort food with a subtle hint of warm Indian spices.
CREAMY PARSNIP SOUP
3 medium parsnips, peeled & chopped (+1 extra for the parsnip chips)
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1” piece of ginger, peeled & chopped
1 small apple, diced
¼ tsp ground cumin powder
½ tsp ground coriander powder
½ tsp garam masala
salt & pepper, to taste
1½ cups vegetable stock (or water)
½ cup coconut milk (or cream)
freshly grated nutmeg
1 tbsp butter (or you can use vegetable or canola oil)
parsnip chips for garnish, optional
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
In a large soup pot on medium high heat, add the butter & when hot add the onion. Sauté until just slightly translucent & then add the garlic & ginger. Sauté for 2-3 minutes & then add the spices (ground cumin powder, ground coriander powder, garam masala, salt & pepper). Stir & cook for another minute or so before adding the parsnips & apple. Next, add the vegetable stock (or water) and 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 10-15 minutes until the parsnips are tender.
Let the soup cool a bit & then puree until the desired texture & consistency is reached. A hand held immersion blender works best, but you can also use a regular blender or food processor. Taste & adjust the seasonings as needed. Finish the dish with some freshly grated nutmeg, garnish with the parsnip chips (see below) & the freshly chopped cilantro leaves, serve hot.
To Make the Parsnip Chips: simply peel the parsnip & then use the vegetable peeler (or mandolin slicer) to make long thin strips. Fry them in hot oil until golden brown, drain well on absorbent paper towels & sprinkle with a little salt while they are still warm.