6 large carrots, peeled—4 thickly sliced and 2 cut into fine matchsticks
2 thin slices peeled fresh ginger
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
4 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
2 cups water
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
3/4 teaspoon red curry paste (see Note)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 scallion, cut into matchsticks
1 tablespoon cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped basil
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the sliced carrots and ginger and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the carrots are crisp-tender and lightly browned, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the onion and cook until softened but not browned, about 2 minutes.
Add the chicken stock, water, coconut milk and curry paste to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the carrots are tender, about 25 minutes. Strain the cooking liquid into another saucepan, reserving the solids; discard the ginger. Transfer the carrots to a blender and puree with 1 cup of the cooking liquid until very smooth. Return the puree to the cooking liquid, add the carrot matchsticks and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with the scallion, cilantro and basil and serve.
The soup can be refrigerated for up to 1 day.
Red curry paste is available at Asian groceries.
To contrast with the coconut milk, ginger and red curry paste in this soup, try an aromatic, fruity California white, such a dry Riesling or Chenin Blanc.