Szechwan Carrot Soup!

I have absolutely nothing to say about Szechwan soup. Nothing. I have been sitting here on my couch for the last half hour trying to remember some sort of interesting story about Szechwan soup to lead into the recipe with. I do not have one. I do not even have an uninteresting story about Szechwan soup.

Here is what I can tell you about me and soup. I like it. The first soup I remember loving was Habitant Pea Soup with a stack of buttered Premium Plus crackers on the side and vinegar drizzled on top of the soup. The second soup I remember loving was a cream of asparagus soup that was served in the cafeteria of the first television station I worked at, CFMT. And that is all I can tell you about me and soup.


Riveting post so far isn’t it?

So I might as well get right into it then. Oh! I just remembered … the last time I had this soup, while the carrots were cooking I went next door to visit my elderly neighbours. They are both since deceased. May they rest in peace. It has apparently been a very long time since I’ve made this soup.

Szechwan Carrot Soup

1 medium onion

2 stalks celery

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tsp vegetable oil

1 lb carrots, cut 1″ (or baby carrots uncut)

1/2″ piece of fresh ginger (peeled & sliced)

1/4 tsp pepper flakes

3 cups chicken broth

1 1/2 Tbsps soy sauce

1/2 Tbsp peanut butter

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp Sesame Oil (I use toasted)

1 cup milk

Roll your sleeves up here we go!

Chop up your onions, celery and garlic.

Cook the onion, celery and garlic in oil until the onion is softened. Meanwhile …

Grab yourself a fresh hunk of ginger. About 1/2 an inch is good for me, but you can add more (if you’re crazy like that) or less (if you’re crazy like that).

Peel your knob of ginger, then slice it thinly. The easiest way to peel ginger, is to just scrape the skin off with a spoon. Add the sliced ginger to the softened onions along with …

… about 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes. More if you like it hot, less if you don’t. Are you sensing a pattern here?

Measure out 3 cups of chicken broth. It’s probably right about here where you think … but karen … i thought you made all your own stock. that stuff looks almost as if it’s coming out of a box. Yes, um, well … if I’m running low I save the good stuff for gravies and sauces. The stuff in the box is organic if that makes you judge me less. Dirty old judgers.

Add the broth to the pot which now includes onion, celery, garlic, ginger, pepper flakes and TA-DA … the star of the show, carrots!

Cover the pot and simmer until the carrots are as tender as, um … something very tender. Silly Putty! Would that do? Simmer until they’re as tender as Silly Putty. Jeez … I’m really off today, aren’t I? About 30 minutes.

Remove pot from heat.

Add the remaining ingredients to the pot. Soy Sauce, Peanut Butter, Sugar, Sesame Oil and Milk. Keep a close eye on your almost finished soup while you look for your blender. This is very important.

As you can see … I did not take my own advice and my soup has been partially pilfered. There has been a definite infiltration here.

Blend the soup with either an immersion or regular blender. Rewarm the soup on the stove if necessary, but be careful not to boil it ’cause of the milk.

Garnish with a big dollop of sour cream! I forgot about the sour cream and I’m still angry about it. As with any recipe feel free to change things up a bit, adding more or less of this and that. And if, by chance, something VERY exciting happens to you while making or eating this soup, let me know. Evidently I’m in need of a really good Szechwan Carrot Soup story.


  1. Tricia Rose says:

    I’m going to do it. I’m going in. Yup, I’m going to make this puppy. I will. I will.

    • Karen says:

      Great! Let me know how you do or don’t like it. And as a favour to me, maybe make this soup during some sort of power outage, or riot. At least one of us will have an entertaining anecdote to go along with the soup.

  2. Nicole Glass says:

    Thanks so much Karen! My partner’s a firefighter…maybe I can make it up at the station for all of the boys and while I’m doing so, there will be a dramatic rescue happening. They’ll almost lose the person in all the smoke (a la Rescue Me) and then pull through at the end, carrying a coughing little girl out of the flames. I can reward them all with soup! ;o)

  3. Andrea says:

    Me too! I’m going to make this soup and make up a fantastic and somewhat minimally believable story to go along with it as I cook in a make shift kitchen that you’ll one day see on Flickr when I quit procrastinating and post pictures.

    The soup looks delicious and I like the way you show your method. You could do an entire cookbook this way 🙂

  4. Langela says:

    Stupid question alert! Does it taste like carrots? Is it a sweet soup? I almost want to try it so I can join the club, but….Well… it’s carrots! They are good with ranch dip, but I don’t care for cooked carrots. Should I pass on this one? I want to like them. I really do, but I don’t. Maybe I could come up with a story, though. I’ll work on it while I decide whether or not to try the soup. Because my family will (just to tick me off) love it and I will be required to make it over and over again.

    • Karen says:

      Um … oddly enough it doesn’t seem to taste too much like carrots. However, I LIKE carrots so I wouldn’t notice as much as someone who doesn’t like carrots. You can make it sweet if you want by adding more sugar, but generally I would describe it as balanced. No idea if that’s helped you at all!

      • Langela says:

        ok. I may have to try it. It is supposed to get cooler the next couple of days. One more question, does the sesame oil make a huge difference? I don’t have any and in my neck of the woods I may not be able to find any. And yet another question, do you serve it with another dish? Meat, pasta? There’s a reason I don’t look as lean and fit as you. I like my food. A lot. That and genes. And lack of exercise. And medications. But mostly, I like food.

        • Karen says:

          Hmm. The sesame oil helps to give it that Szechwan flair. If you don’t have any I’d add another 1/2 Tbsp. of peanut butter. Last night I had it with chicken satays with a peanut sauce and a couple of spring rolls with a spicy chili sauce dip. But if you aren’t sure about the recipe and you LOVE food, why not make the Montana’s antojitos? They’re realllllyyyy good.

        • Langela says:

          Oh dear! I’m sure my husband is drooling and he doesn’t even know about this recipe(antojitos) yet. We LOVE spicy stuff and I could eat cream cheese off a spoon. I don’t though. Often. I am so getting the ingredients to make these! And the soup. I decided I’m going to do it. I will let you know how it goes over.

        • Karen says:

          Langela – ALERT! ALERT!!! CARROT SOUP ALERT!! Don’t add extra peanut butter. Apparently, the peanut butter taste in the soup increases as it sits in the soup. I had some more and you could definitely taste the peanut butter after it sat for a day or two. So don’t add any extra peanut butter. If you did, it would taste tooo peanut buttery. Just omit the sesame oil. No big deal. – karen

  5. That looks really yummy and I am not a fan of carrot soup. You have managed to change my mind 🙂 As soon as my carrots are ready I am giving this a try.

  6. Izzy says:

    Hmmm gonna try to make that soup this weekend! Looks awesome Karen! Thx for the recipe! Xo

  7. Jeanenne says:

    First off, YUM! This looks delicious and I’m gonna make it… maybe even this weekend with fresh carrots from my brand new neighborhood farmer’s market where I will be tomorrow morning.

    Secondly, you scared me when you said that couldn’t think of any stories about Szechwan soup. Because that only left one other thing for you to tell a story about. And, well, I didn’t think this was that kind of blog. 😉

  8. Langela says:

    Ok. I’m going to whisper this so my husband doesn’t hear me. I was wrong. This is so good! I probably added a little bit more pepper flakes than called for. I also forgot the milk at first. I loved the taste without it, but I added a splash when I realized I had forgotten. It actually tasted better without the milk–less carroty. The rest of the family thought it was “edible”. My husband’s word. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Karen says:

      Edible? Edible?! Oh stop … I’m blushing. You spoil me! 🙂 The soup will taste better tomorrow. You know how it is … the tastes blend and mellow a bit. Next week … potato pancakes and a super chili sauce recipe!

      • Langela says:

        Can’t wait. Maybe you could share your recipe for potato pancakes. I tried it once, thinking, how hard can this be. The kids were all huddled around me, anxiously awaiting a spectacular new food. They didn’t work.(the pancakes not the kids. I work my kids like little personal slaves!) I like having a pay-off when I try a new recipe. Like, “Wow, that tastes like a dirty sock but at least it’s pretty on the plate!” So imagine my disappointment when potato pancakes were neither pretty, tasty, or pancake-y.

  9. Alisha says:

    GOOD. Like … REALLY good. It’s easy to make and tastes subtly of carrot, mildly of peanut/sesame and has a great texture. I paired it with Satay Chicken on the BBQ and homemade na’an bread. If you want a couple of super easy and delicious low fat satay recipes, (or low fat na’an bread!) go to my blog! (shameless plug) The boyfriend says “For The Win” and “*#$@ Yeah” all amid groans of utter happiness.

  10. Jane says:

    Ah, no rush or pressure Karen, but I don’t suppose you’d be willing to share that chili sauce recipe you mentioned 3 comments up, please?

  11. Marti says:

    Tried it tonight. Needs chicken. Or homemade bread. Or something to bring a little more substance to the meal. But it’s interesting. And different than I imagined.

    I’d make it twice. 🙂 Now… about that chili sauce recipe…

  12. Adam says:

    Karen –

    This soup is to die for. I’ve had this recipe marked for months and after having my first (and second bowl) I’m sad I waited so long. I wish I had a great story to share about the soup, but there’s nothing. Delicious though. Such an interesting taste, not what I was expecting, but way better.

    • Karen says:

      Hah! I forgot about that soup! I should make it this weekend. 🙂 Yeah, it’s pretty darn good. I still have no stories about it. ~ karen

  13. susan says:

    I suggest using coconut milk instead of regular milk it gives the soup a real asian flavor.

  14. Bernie says:

    So I do love soup and I am interested in the recipe but honestly I really love to read all the comments so I must admit I scrolled really fast thru the pictures (you do take great tutorial pictures but as I said I love to read the comments) sooo any-who I’m scrolling pretty fast and as I zoom past I thought “the fella” had a hello kitty tat on his arm! well that made me back up!…now theres a story to go with your soup.

  15. Sherry says:

    Whoo Hoo, guess what – I bought ginger for the first time in my life… I wasn’t afraid, and in fact it peeled just like you said it would. My kids loved the soup. I made a couple of mistakes, added peanut butter too soon, didn’t have sesame oil, but it was sooooo gooood and I was so proud of myself.
    K I need to start a list of firsts that I’ve done since I read your blog, and seem to be developing some courage to be creative… and do stuff.

    • Karen says:

      Sherry – That’s my favourite type of comment. SEE?! It ain’t that hard. Any of it! (as I like to say) I would love for you to send me a list. And glad you liked the soup. It’s pretty damn good isn’t it? Doesn’t matter about the peanut butter. But try to find Toasted Sesame Oil if you can. (not regular sesame oil) It adds a really nice depth to the soup. ~ karen!

      • Sherry says:

        K thanks for the tip – I also went to Bulk Barn but they didn’t have the Spicy / Sweet Pecans (apparently only for sale over christmas) for the Strawberry salad, so I made my own pecans with maple syrup and cayenne – the salad also got some sweet smiles.

  16. sara says:

    I get pretty excited when you post recipes. I don’t know how I survived without antojitos. Crispy sweet potato fries? No longer impossible. With a couple changes, firebroth soup is now on the menu. The no knead bread recipe, although it’s not yours, is the best bread I’ve ever made. That said, I doubted you with this soup. I kept putting off making it because it freaked me out. What an odd combination of ingredients. I finally made it tonight, and aside from the fact that I LOVED it and it was super easy, the best part was that my fella HATED it. I didn’t know it until tonight, but I definitely needed a recipe to use as a threat or punishment. Thanks!

  17. Ellen says:

    I’m making this for the SECOND time tonight… last time I had whipping cream to use up (from a friend – I hardly ever have it) and it was fan-friggin-tastic…. tho less hot than I expected, probably due to the fat in the cream,,Tonight it’s going to have skim milk instead (all I have) so we’ll see what difference that makes.. It sure is good tho… Accompanied by store bought warmed up ciabatta & followed by apple crisp…. Food for the gods!

  18. Ady says:

    My husband cut his thumb making this soup and required 5 stitches!
    That’s not true. But I did make this soup on the same day (today) my husband got five stitches in his thumb after he cut it doing something else. Excitement!!!

    The soup is delicious!

    • Karen says:

      LOLOLOL! Omg. You GOT ME! I literally put my hand over my mouth when I read the first line! I happen to be prone to cutting myself and I HATE it. I get all fainty and refuse to get stitched up. I’m still paying for one of those refusals with a poorly working index finger. Holy crap. LOL. You really did get me. Glad you liked the soup though! ~ karen

  19. Gayle says:

    Really enjoying your website/blog thingy. Interesting and fun – great pictures and I am inspired to try new things. My 2013 resolution, get out of my rut and try all sorts of new things in foods, recipes, crafts, being healthier and having more fun! One ? is there a way to print out your recipes or do you recommend just copy and pasting? Gayle

    • Karen says:

      Hi Gayle – I’ve been going back through my recipes one by one making sure they’re printable but I haven’t got to all of them yet so the odd time you’ll come across one that isn’t reformatted to be printable. If that’s the case let me know, and I’ll get to work on that recipe (as you’ve done) and then just do what you say. Copy and paste. Sometimes I have time to fix the recipe right away and other times I don’t , so it’s best if you just copy and paste for now and then come back at a later time to see if I’ve updated it. 🙂 And congratulations on your new resolutions. ~ karen!

  20. Strangeattractor says:

    I haven’t actually made this soup, yet, but I do have a carrot soup story.

    Once, my mother had put vinegar in the kettle to clean it. Shortly thereafter, she decided to make carrot soup. She used what she thought was hot water in the kettle to add liquid to the broth, and thus added vinegar to the soup. It turned out well.

    It’s a good thing she didn’t use CLR or something else to clean the kettle.

  21. Anna says:

    I will forever refer to this soup as the most expensive soup I’ve ever made…I just dropped a can of baked beans on my stovetop while making this and cracked the entire glass stovetop in half. I’m really hoping the soup is delicious to make up for this…

  22. Anna says:

    Ha…absolutely nothing. Just putting groceries away while the soup was simmering.

    • Karen says:

      Oh! LOL. (not laughing at your misfortune … I’d probably cry if I were you) I’m laughing cause I was worried you were putting baked beans in the soup! Which clearly would be a small worry compared to replacing a stove top. ~ karen!

  23. judy says:

    I can not express how wonderful it is that you posted this now. I have been staring @ a giant bag of baby carrots-Costco- in my fridge and wondering if this will be the second bag I toss in the yard for what I hope will be Rabbits and other adorable woodland creatures (kinda like an old Disney movie) and not RATS! ………… All I have to go buy is the oil the ginger and the pepper flakes. Love you. Love your Blog. Thanks.

  24. Karin says:

    I finally got around to make this soup. Since now with the new site everything is so clean and organized :0B
    I love it but what’s more the husband loves it. I call that a success. Mainly because he wrinkles his nose if I set something before him without meat. But not a single word was muttered of it lacking.
    We had a small bowl tonight and will most likely finish it off tomorrow with friends during the game.
    So thank you, Karen, it’s a keeper.

    • Karen says:

      That’s great Karin. I’m so glad you mentioned it was easier to find the recipes. I think once everyone calms down they’ll realize it’s a much better site, lol. Also, yes … I’m very, VERY serious about my soup recipes, lol. I’m so serious about soup that come Thanksgiving neighbours bring me their turkey carcasses so I can turn them all into broth. VERY serious about soup. 😉 ~ karen!

  25. Toby Fouks says:

    I’m reading this odyssey of comments about the carrot soup because I have a question. I’d like to make it but with a couple of changes and I’m hoping for your thoughts. The first and major change would be to use squash rather than carrots, and the second would be to use soy milk [which I make in my wonderful soy milk maker] rather than milk. Okay, there’s a third thing. Oh no — you covered it. I want sour cream on top. I am not lactose intolerant but I avoid dairy products even though I love whipped cream, sour cream, cheese, and butter. I guess I just avoid cow’s milk. (-: I have all the ingredients although my ginger is chopped up and frozen but it should work. I once bought too much ginger at Superstore in Duncan where the price is a fraction of what it is on Salt Spring, and ended up freezing some [and making ginger syrup with some] .. and okay, processing the ginger from the syrup into ginger mash, freezing it in small jars, and adding it to my favourite summer beverage – you might wince at this — any fruit, definitely a banana [probably from my peeled frozen banana store] and for liquid — a tin of diet ginger ale. Toby’s Fruit Fizzy. Okay, I’ve added it to other things as well like applesauce but let’s not get too far off the track. Back to the soup … what do you think about the squash and the soy milk? I could try half a recipe first I guess …It’s just me and the dogs so basically I please me. Still, I’d like your opinion.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Toby! It should be perfectly fine with Squash. Different, but fine. As far as the ginger goes, I freeze my ginger all the time. That’s just how I store it! I’m not sure about the soy milk but I don’t see any reason it wouldn’t work. Again, it will be a bit different but it’s not like there’s a ton of milk in the recipe. The main liquid is chicken broth (or vegetable if you prefer). Let me know how it turns out! ~ karen

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