Spiced carrot and caramelised onions soup

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This shouldn’t be soup-making time, but unfortunately it is, so let me share with you what has become my favourite way of making soup. The basic method comes from the 1977 edition of ‘Mousewood Cookbook’ via Slashfood, and I blogged about it before with my carrot and rose harissa soup. While the vegetables are cooking, you make a kind of tarka of caramelised onions, nuts and freshly grounded and roasted spices. Then you combine the two and blend to esired thickness. The possibilities are many! Pumpkin works well here, too. You can even use this method to make and flavour vegetable purees.

In this recipe, the nuts give the soup some body, the onions provide an earthy base, while the spices bring it into life. The result is a warming carrot soup fragrant with roasted cumin and coriander, with a hint of heat from the chillies. I love it!

This picture of spices from St George’s market in Breakfast always cheers me up.

Spices on sale in Belfast market

Spiced carrot and caramelised

onions soup


SOURCE: the basic carrot soup recipe is from ‘Mousewood Cookbook’ (1977), via Slashfood, adapted by me






1 kg carrots, peeled and chopped

water or stock

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

3 dried red chillies (deseed them if you don’t like hot food)

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tbsp butter

1 large yellow onion

3 cloves of garlic

a handful of almonds, roughly shopped

salt and pepper

a handful of grated cheese (optional)


I. Cover the carrots with water and  stock and boil until tender.

II. Heat a pan over medium heat and add cumin, coriander seeds and chillies. Roast until lightly toasted and fragrant (about 1 min), and then put into a pestle & mortar/spice grinder and let cool. Grind into powder and set aside.

III. Heat the olive oil and butter in a pan, then add the onion and cook until the onion starts going golden. Add chopped garlic and nuts and sauté until the onions are caramelised. Then, add roasted spices, stir and cook for a minute or two to give time to the spices to release their flavours.

III. Put the onion mixture and carrots into the food processor and blend until smooth. (It’s easier to blend if you retain some cooking water and add it to the soup later on as necessary.)

IV. Return the vegetable puree to the pan, and check for salt. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add water to achieve desired consistency. Ladle into bowls or mugs ,and if you wish, sprinkle some cheese on top. Add another pinch of freshly ground black pepper and serve. Enjoy!






Other soups at Maninas:

Celeriac soup (V)

Creamy carrot soup with rose harissa (V)

Dalmatian fish soup

Fragrant and aromatic salmon soup with noodles

Jerusalem artichoke soup with lemon zest and parmesan (V)



Leave a comment


  1. Considering I really like carrot soup, I would like to try this one! It really sound yumm! Thank you for sharing!


  2. Fotka začina me oduševila, joj zašto nema ovakvih štandova kod nas. 🙂
    Juha od mrkve mi je među top 5 juha, a sjećam se i one s harissom koju planiram isprobati već duže vrijeme. Sad ide i ova na popis za isprobavanje. 🙂


  3. Mouse

     /  17 May, 2010

    Mmmmm, this looks very good. Am may I say what a nicely named book that is: The Mousewood Cookbook! : )



  4. ALANVLA, Thanks, glad you like it. And welcome to my blog!

    ANDREA, fala. I mene svaki put razveseli kad ju vidim.
    Sto se probanja tice, znam kako to ide.. 🙂 Aj kad probas javi. 🙂

    MOUSE, I knew you’d like the name! 😀
    Btw, did I ever tell you how to say ‘mouse’ in Croatian? It’s ‘mis’, pronounced ‘mish’! I thought you’d like the word.


  5. I love the sound of this soup, comforting and defintely warming with all those spices.


  6. Mouse

     /  18 May, 2010

    I do! 🙂


  7. Super juhica! Baš sam jučer ja radila mrkvu s lukom…ali ne kao juhu, nego kao prilog – dakle mrkvica nasjeckana na štapiće i luk, pirjani na maslinovom ulju i poslije u acetu balsamicu i malo anisa…:) To volimo radit tako da ova juhica zvuči jako fino!


  8. SYLVIE, it’s lovely, isn’t it. I like your gingery version, too.

    MOUSE, I knew you would, darling! Hug!

    ENOGASTROMAMA, bas super zvuci tvoja mrkvica! Anis i balzamico mi se cini ko super kombinacija s mrkvom i lukom.



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