International Cuisine

Thai Coconut Squash Soup

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thai Coconut Squash SoupThis exotic vegetable soup, is made with squash, chickpeas, and cauliflower and just a hint of Panaeng paste.

Step 1: Making the Soup

Making the Soup
  • 1 tbsp grape seed oil - can substitute with vegetable oil
  • 2 small onions
  • 1 lb butternut squash (approx.)
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp Panaeng paste (or to taste)
  • 1 small head of cauliflower (approx. 1 pound)
  • 1 can chickpeas (19 oz)
  • 1 tsp palm sugar
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 kaffir lime leaf
  • 1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt

To start the soup, roughly dice the onions. Heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Once hot, add the oil and let the onions cook. Peel and cut the squash into about 1/2 to 1-inch cubes.

Once the onions are completely translucent, add the squash. If you notice that the mixture looks a little bit dry, add another tablespoon of oil. Turn the heat to medium. Prepare the cauliflower by first cutting out the core, and then roughly chop into about 1-inch pieces.

Give the squash a stir from time to time, so it cooks evenly. Rinse and drain the chickpeas. Once the squash has softened, add the white wine vinegar. Turn up the heat slightly and add the Panaeng paste. Cook for a couple of minutes until fragrant.

Add the chickpeas, cauliflower, palm sugar and chicken stock. Bruise the kaffir lime leaf before adding. Increase the heat and bring to just a boil. Then turn the heat down and simmer gently for about 10-15 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked through.

Step 2: Pureeing the Soup

Pureeing the Soup

Before pureeing the soup, test the vegetables. They should be soft and easy to cut through. Add the mango chutney or mango, if using.

Before pureeing, make sure to remove the lime leaf. Remove about 1 cup of the liquid. This is a great habit to get into when pureeing soups. You’ll always be able to control the amount of liquid, so you don’t wind up with a really thin soup.

Blend about 1/3 of the soup at a time, making sure there is enough liquid so it blends easily. As a safety precaution, hold the top of the blender with a cloth and be careful of the steam when you take off the lid. Blend for about a minute or until smooth. Transfer each batch to a clean pot. If you see that the consistency is quite thick, add the reserved liquid into the last batch. If you feel the soup is still too thick, you can add additional chicken stock, keeping in mind that the coconut milk will thin out the soup a bit more.

Once all of the soup is pureed, place it over a low heat. Stir in the salt and coconut milk. Taste one last time for seasoning and gently heat through. Garnish with a drizzle of coconut milk, if desired.