It's definitely feeling like autumn (and some days winter), which for me is the start of soup season - I don't feel quite right eating a warm bowl of soup unless it's chilly out. And with autumn comes an abundance of squashes, particularly the versatile butternut variety.
This soup is a Thai twist on a classic butternut squash soup. As much as I like the original version, sometimes things need shaking up. Some common additions to squash soups are ginger or curry powder.
However, I decided to take it a little further by going completely Thai, albeit in a really subtle way. By adding just a tiny amount of Thai curry paste, the soup has a faint hint of its flavor and the heat kicks in at the end of each spoonful but doesn’t taste strongly of a Thai curry. The palm sugar highlights the natural sweetness of the squash, the ginger adds another dimension of flavor but it’s not at all overpowering, and the coconut milk adds a bit of richness and rounds out the flavors. And the last minute addition of lime juice brightens up the whole thing. And last but not least, it's vegan and gluten-free, making this perfect for when you're serving a diverse crowd.
The best part is that this comes together so quickly, and you can make it well in advance and simply reheat before serving. For all of these reasons, this soup is a wonderful addition to a Thanksgiving dinner or any fall meal.
Thai Curried Butternut Squash Soup
(from Raspberry Eggplant)
vegan and gluten-free
1 large butternut squash (about 2 ½ pounds)
2 large shallots
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon palm sugar or dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon Thai yellow or red curry paste
5 cups water
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Peel and seed the squash. Chop it into large pieces and pulse in a food processor until finely chopped.
Peel and chop the shallots (you should have about ½ cup).
Add the canola oil to a large pot set over medium heat. Add the chopped shallots and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger, sugar, and curry paste and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the squash and water. Cover the pot and bring the soup to a boil. Remove the lid and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer until the squash is very tender, about 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk and salt and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Puree the soup – either use a hand blender to blend the soup in the pot, or puree the soup in batches in a blender. Add more salt if necessary.
Right before serving, stir in the lime juice. Serve warm.