Put the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the beef, in batches to avoid crowding the pan, and cook for a few minutes until browned all over. As each batch browns, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions, garlic and celery to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes or until softened.
Remove from the heat and stir in the paprika and caraway seeds. Pour in the stock and measurement water. Add the thyme, bay leaves, Tabasco sauce and tomato purée. Stir well and add the browned beef. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, partially cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Add the potatoes and carrots and simmer for another 30 minutes or until the beef and potatoes are tender. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Spoon the soup into warm soup bowls, garnish each portion with a dollop of soured cream, if liked, and serve immediately.