Culinary Anthropologist

Carrot soup with orange flower cream and spicy almonds


I’d say this soup was Moroccan, although I’ve never had it in Morocco.  In fact I’ve only ever had it in my own kitchen, after experimenting with several flavours which are often combined in Moroccan cuisine.  Travelling in Morocco we often found carrot combined with oranges and orange flower water for desserts.  Carrot is also mixed with cumin, garlic and parsley in the common cooked carrot salad you will get as a starter.  Almonds are found in many Moroccan dishes, sweet and savoury.  I think this soup works brilliantly, but I’m biased, so you’ll have to let me know…

Smcarrotorangecreamsoup.JPGFor an easier version, simply omit some or all garnishes, or make carrot soup with ginger as described below.  This simple carrot soup was one of the dishes I made while helping out chef Mona Talbott at the Rome Sustainable Food Project at the American Academy in Rome last June. 

The trick with any puréed carrot soup is the amount of time you cook the carrots; too short and the soup will not purée silky smooth; too long and you will lose the bright carrot colour and flavour.  So keep checking the carrots as they cook.

Recipe:  Carrot soup with orange flower cream and spicy almonds.pdf

Serves:  4+ as a starter or 2+ as a meal in itself
Total time:  40 mins

1 medium onion, finely sliced
olive oil
500g of peeled and evenly sliced carrots
bouquet garni of one small sprig of thyme, a parsley stalk and a bay leaf

75 ml whipping cream, well chilled
¼ tsp orange flower water, or to taste
2-3 tbsps argan oil  (or olive, walnut, hazelnut, sesame or groundnut)
1 heaped tsp ground mixed Moroccan spices, ie caraway & cumin with a little hot chilli
1 clove garlic, peeled and bruised
2 tbsps flaked almonds
coarse flaky salt, eg Maldon
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

  1. Cook onion in a generous slug of olive oil with a pinch of salt over a very low heat, covered, stirring occasionally.  Cook until they are totally soft but not at all coloured.  This will take around 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile prepare carrots and when onions are ready add them to the saucepan along with another good pinch of salt, the bouquet garni and enough water to barely cover vegetables.  Bring to a boil then simmer until carrots are totally tender.
  3. Meanwhile prepare garnishes.  Add orange flower water to cream and whip.  Return to fridge.  Gently warm oil with spices and garlic for a few minutes to infuse.  Add almond flakes and gently fry until golden, stirring frequently.  Lift almonds from oil, remove garlic and sprinkle them with coarse salt.
  4. To finish the soup, remove herbs, blend until smooth, adjust consistency by adding water if needed, and season with salt as desired.
  5. Garnish each bowl of soup with a dollop of orange flower cream, a sprinkle of spicy almonds and parsley and a little drizzle of any remaining spicy oil.

Simple alternative:  Carrot soup with ginger

1 medium onion, finely sliced
olive oil
500g of peeled and evenly sliced carrots
bouquet garni of one small sprig of thyme, a parsley stalk and a bay leaf
piece of fresh root ginger, peeled  (scraping off the skin with a teaspoon works really well)

Make the soup as above.  While the soup is cooking, finely grate or pound the ginger and then squeeze it through some muslin to catch the juice.  Just before serving stir in some ginger juice.  Taste as you add – I would say you want just enough to give the soup a slight bright zingy note, but not so much as to detract from its essential carrotyness.

Read about argan oil here


  1. Cristian

    I have to say that the photo convinced me to try and cook this recipe, but I do not understand what orange flower cream is… maybe you could help me with that…

  2. Anna

    Hi Cristian
    Orange blossom water, or orange flower water, is a flavouring made from the flowers of the orange tree used in Moroccan and other cuisines. It is highly perfumed and floral. See step 3 of the recipe above – you whip a little into the cream to flavour it.