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Curried Carrot-Parsnip Soup

Invented on a chilly night's ride home from work....and this one came out so nice that I had to share.  The parsnips complement the carrots wonderfully, being sweet and mild when cooked, and while you could get something nice with carrots alone, it would not be as good.

1 t mustard oil or other vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

4 medium carrots, sliced thickly
3 medium parsnips, sliced thickly

4 dried tamarind pods, shelled
6 pods cardamom
1 tbsp whole coriander seed
1 tsp dried galangal chunks

3 C water

1/4 C unsweetened coconut

2 tsp freshly grated ginger
2 tsp cayenne, or to taste
1 tsp paprika, or to taste
1 tbsp south indian sambar powder (from 1000 Indian Recipes by Neelam Batra) or another curry powder of your choice
1 tsp salt or to taste

In a pressure cooker, heat the oil and cumin briefly, then saute the onion lightly.  Add the carrots and parsnips, water, and, in a small metal bowl set on top of the vegetables, the tamarind, cardamom, coriander and galangal with a bit more water to cover them.  Bring up to 15# pressure and cook 12 minutes. 

While the vegetables are cooking, in another pan, lightly toast the coconut until golden.

Strain the separate spice water into the vegetable mixture, pressing the tamarind pulp into the mixture.  Puree all in a blender or food processor.  Stir in the coconut, ginger, cayenne, paprika, curry powder, and salt, and adjust spices to taste. 

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