Saturday, May 4, 2013

Carrot-Ginger Soup Recipe, or, How Shangri-La Vegan Revolutionized My Kitchen

My friend Stephen, who used to live out here in the SF Bay but now lives in Pittsburgh, where I met him, came here recently to attend some sex-positive meditation talks and workshops and so forth, and he took a little time out of his busy schedule to visit with me, which was awesome because I think he's rad and I have something of a persistent crush on him (hi, Stephen!).

He's a vegan, and he suggested we go to his favorite East Bay vegan restaurant, Shangri-La Vegan, here in Oakland.  Now it's my favorite East Bay vegan restaurant as well, although Encuentro is a close second.  I'll post about Encuentro soon, but for now, let's talk about Shangri-La.

This is a unique place.  It only has two menu options every day, a more-flavorful dish (pictured above) and a simple, spice and oil-free dish (we didn't get that).  You can order large or moderate, and the large comes with soup as well.  This is simple, great food done right.  Beans, greens, grains, and veggies.  It tastes crazy good.  Stephen explained to me that Shangri-La cooks in a Buddhist style, and that part of this is that yesterday's food gets combined to make today's soup.

Not surprisingly, seeing as how everything on the today dish was so tasty, the soup, made from yesterday's dish, was, like, the best soup ever.

This has inspired me enormously!  I think it may have revolutionized my cooking style.

So, in my last entry, I posted a picture of a delicious sandwich I invented, and there was also a salad in that picture.  Here it is again.

The dressing on that salad was a messed-up version of Appetite For Reduction's Carrot-Ginger Dressing.  Messed up how?  Glad you asked.  OK, so first of all, the recipe calls for 3/4 pound carrots, and the truth is, I have no clue how much carrots I actually used.  I'd guess it was about 1.25 pounds.  And I changed a few other things, also, because it didn't taste very good, so I added extra of this and that to make it more palatable.  Still, it wasn't really a great dressing and I was having trouble using up the leftovers.  But after my visit to Shangri-La, I knew it had to be made into soup.  Success!

Buddhist-Style Carrot-Ginger Soup

-1 pound of carrots, sliced to be 1/2 inch thick
-1/2 of a small white onion
-1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped roughly
-1 clove garlic
-juice of 1 lime
-1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
-3 tablespoons sesame oil
-1 tablespoon agave
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/2 cup water (give or take)
-1 can coconut milk
-sliced green onions

1.  Steam your carrots.  Boil water and put the carrots into a steamer basket or a metal colander you place in the boiling pot.  Toss them around a bit as you steam, maybe keep them partially covered in order to quicken the cooking.  It'll take about 15 minutes, but just test them for tenderness.  When they're done, run them under cold water to cool.
2. Place all the other ingredients except the water and coconut milk in the food processor and get them chopped good.  Then add the carrots and blend until very smooth, scraping the sides down every so often to get it all good and blended.  Feel free to add a bit of water to make it blend easier if you want to.  Taste and adjust as you like.
3.  Throw it all into a medium saucepan and add the coconut and water.  Add only as much water as to give it the thickness you like.  Cook over medium heat until thoroughly heated.  Taste and adjust as you like.
4.  Serve topped with green onions sprinkled atop.

I'm not going to lie, I totally winged this recipe.  There are really no rules.  You like things saltier, add salt. You like things less salty, add less.  You want more agave, that's your right.  More or less red wine vinegar, I'm not going to judge you.  Want to cut the oil, go ahead.  Don't think that's enough ginger, add ginger.  The truth is, I'm not completely sure how I made this.  I know what ingredients I used, but not exactly how much.  I'm just estimating.  You can estimate also. Live free or die!  Or whatever.


  1. Sounds like my kind of restaurant. We'll be in San Francisco for a weekend in June and maybe we should head to Oakland to Shangri-la.

    1. Oh, yeah, definitely you should! Except that I haven't posted about Encuentro yet and there's a pretty good chance that when you see what all I got from there, you might decide that THAT is the place to go in Oakland! They are both amazing.

  2. What an interesting concept for Shangri-La. The meal from there looks incredible! Is that split peas or something?

  3. That looks sooooo good and yes I'm also raised in Pittsburgh :)

    ♡ rika, vegan miam
    ★ we travel + eat vegan blog ★


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