Members' Recipes Archive

October 2009
Thai Butternut or Pumpkin Soup
Sarah Beattie

Perhaps it’s the iconography of Hallowe’en but no vegetable is more emblematic of Autumn than the great pumpkin or his smaller cousin, the butternut squash. This soup, rich and creamy but with a fiery warmth and a sour tang, is perfect to come home to after a bracing walk crunching leaves underfoot or a hard morning in a chilly garden tidying up after the first frosts.

Although all will be gathered in this month, pumpkin and squash store well and can be used right through the winter. They are wonderfully versatile and can be roasted (ring the changes with thyme, sage or cumin), baked, put in pies, added to risotto, grated into muffins or even made into jam.

If you can’t find tamarind purée add the juice of a lemon instead. I grow lemongrass in a pot on my windowsill. I started it from seed and it has taken a couple of years to get to a usable size. If you find really fresh lemongrass stalks, stand one in a little water on a bright windowsill and it should begin to sprout roots and you’ll be able to have your own organic supply. Likewise with root ginger: choose a fat heavy root, keep it on damp sand or gritty compost  and it will soon start growing bigger.

2 tbs oil

1cm / ½ in piece fresh root ginger, grated

½ tsp chopped red chilli

1 tsp chopped lemongrass

1 red onion, peeled and chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

about 500g / 1lb butternut squash or pumpkin, deseeded, peeled & chopped

1 tbs light soy sauce

2 tbs tamarind puree

400ml / 14 fl oz coconut milk (canned or rehydrated powdered)

400ml / 14fl oz water

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the ginger, chilli, lemongrass, onion, garlic and butternut squash or pumpkin over a fairly high heat, stirring constantly, until just beginning to colour. Add the soy, tamarind, coconut milk, and water. Simmer until the squash or pumpkin is very tender (about 25 minutes). Whizz with a blender until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings – if it is too fiery try adding a good pinch of sugar. Reheat and serve.

© Recipe copyright 2007 Sarah Beattie


Author: Sarah Beattie Email:

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