From the author, Stefan Bloom: I got a really fancy blender for Christmas, so I’ve been making a lot of pureed soups these days. Given the cold winter nights, though, pureed root vegetable soups are perfect – warming and satisfying without being heavy or overly filling. This Thai-style Butternut Squash soup has a nice amount of heat from the chiles and sweetness from the coconut milk.
A good garnish – which I didn’t do but occurs to me now, having done it before with other squash soups – is to toast the squash seeds in a little oil and then sprinkle them over the top, along with the sriracha, cilantro, scallion, and olive oil.
From Plant-Based on a Budget:
Nothing screams fall more than a cozy butternut squash soup but, before you start thinking of the autumn classic, we need to let you know that this is a much spicier Thai version. It is creamy and packed with a few more exotic flavors and the combination with the classic sweet pumpkin goes so well. This is what makes this Thai-style Butternut Squash Soup so much more comforting than its counterpart. The hotness of the chilies warms you from the inside. Perfect for cold days!
What comes to mind when you think of Thai flavors and ingredients? There are so many characteristic elements in the beloved Thai cuisine! The bird chilis for example are small, red, very hot, and widely used in other Thai dishes (and other Asian cuisines).
But there’s another emblematic ingredient, lemongrass. Lemongrass is a long leek-like herb with a strong lemon aroma which gives Thai dishes a very unique flavor.
And finally, coconut milk. This creamy plant-based milk is a true staple when it comes to Thai cuisine and it is what makes most of its dishes creamy and brings all the flavors together. Are you a Thai food lover?
1stalkof lemongrass, tough outer layers removed, bottom inch and tapered top removed, finely chopped
1 1/2cupsof coconut milk
1Tablespoonof tomato paste
2smallThai bird chiles (or 1 serrano chile), halved, seeds removed if you want less heat
1 1/2Tablespoonsof lime juice
1 1/2teaspoonsof kosher salt (or 3/4 teaspoon table salt)
cilantro leaves, finely chopped scallion, olive oil, and sriracha as garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise. (Microwaving the squash for a minute or two can help soften it up and make it easier - and safer - to cut in half. If you do microwave it, be sure to give the skin a few good stabs with the tip of your knife so nothing ends up exploding all over the inside of your microwave.) Prick the skin of each half a bunch of times with a fork, scoop out the seeds and stringy bits, then give all surfaces a quick spray with cooking spray. (Or brush lightly with some oil.) Place cut-side down on the baking sheet, and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool, and scoop the flesh out of the skin, place in a bowl, and set aside. (You only need half the squash for this recipe, but it never hurts to have half a cooked squash on hand.)
Heat the oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, and saute until softened, 5-8 minutes. Add the squash, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, coconut milk, and tomato paste, bring to a boil, and simmer until everything is heated through, around 10 minutes. Transfer to a blender (in batches, if necessary), add chiles, lime juice, salt, and water, and puree until smooth. (Alternately, add the chiles, lime, salt, and water to the pot, and puree with an immersion blender.) Return to the pot, adjust seasoning, and reheat until ready to serve. Transfer to bowls and garnish with cilantro leaves, chopped scallions, and drizzles of olive oil and sriracha.