Arbol chiles can pack a lot of heat, so if you prefer, omit them from the cooking process and add a dash of cayenne instead.
2 tablespoons raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon caraway seed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 medium (about 8 ounces total) carrots
1 dried arbol chile, split in half lengthwise, seeds discarded
1-inch piece fresh ginger
2 teaspoons white or brown rice miso
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Soak the sunflower seeds in a small bowl with water to cover for 30 minutes; drain. Mash to a paste with a pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle.
While the sunflower seeds are soaking, toast the caraway seed in a small skillet over medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until fragrant. Grind with a pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle and allow to cool.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender and golden and reduced in volume by about two-thirds. Add the caraway seed, remove the skillet from the heat, cover and cool.
Peel the carrots and cut them into pieces approximately 1/2 inch by 1 inch. Transfer to a large saucepan or small Dutch oven and add 1 teaspoon of the oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, the chile and 1/4 cup water. Bring almost to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until the carrots are easily pierced with the tip of a knife, 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool.
Peel the ginger and cut it into 2 pieces. Use the flat side of a knife to mash it flat, then mince; alternately, grate the ginger.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the carrots to the bowl of a food processor (discard the chile). Add the onion, ginger, sunflower seed paste, the remaining 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons of oil, and the miso, and process until smooth and creamy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the lemon juice and pulse to combine. Taste, and add salt if needed. Makes about 11/2 cups, 6 servings.
Per serving: 110 calories, 2 g protein, 8 g carbohydrates, 9 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 370 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 4 g sugar