Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Winter Vegetable Soup with Coconut Milk and Chilis
I prepared this soup for my friend Busayo's birthday dinner. She was leaving for Nigeria and would be gone on the actual day, but I wanted to give her a little celebration before she left. I brought this soup over with a beet salad, baguette and one of my favorite cheeses - Prima Donna, which tastes like a sharp Gouda. And of course there was cake - red velvet from Cake Man Raven.
This soup is sweet from the butternut squash, sweet potatoes and coconut milk, but also quite spicy from the chilis and spices. I used many of the winter vegetables I had received in my CSA that week, including celeraic, or celery root. This is what it looks like, kind of like a monster:
It's actually kind of great though once you peel it. The inside has a nice white color similar to a turnip. I tasted a little of it raw and it's kind of pungent, a cross between celery and parsley. When you cook it, the taste becomes more mild and the texture is soft and creamy like a potato. And I found out it's actually a great alternative to using potatoes because it hardly has any starch in it.
Happy Birthday Busey! xo
makes 16 cups (good for freezing)
3 tablespoons oil or ghee for soup pot, 1 tablespoon for roasting butternut squash
1 butternut squash, halved, roasted and spooned out
1 celeraic, peeled, cubed
5 small carrots, peeled and cut
4 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 inch ginger, grated
12 cups water
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
pinch of asafoetida or hing
2 tablespoons coriander powder
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup coconut milk
juice of 1 lemon or lime
salt and black pepper
brown sugar - optional
Indian green chilis or jalapenos, chopped
Note - I roast the squash because I don't like having to peel and cube it since it's quite hard, but you can also just pan fry it with the rest of the vegetables instead if you choose to.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Pour about 1 tablespoon of olive oil with a sprinkling of salt into a baking dish and place the halves face down on the bottom of the pan. Rub them around so that they absorb the most amount of oil. Roast butternut squash for about 40 minutes or until soft. Cool and scrape out flesh. Place in a bowl and set aside.
Warm 3 tablespoons of ghee or oil under medium heat in a heavy soup pot with the cumin seeds and pinch of hing or asafoetida. Once the cumin seeds start to brown or crackle, throw in the onions. Fry them until translucent. Mix in the coriander powder, turmeric, garam masala, chili powder. Fry for 30 seconds. Add in the garlic and ginger and stir around. Fry until fragrant, 30 seconds or so.
Next throw in all of the veggies - butternut squash, celeraic, carrots and sweet potatoes. Mix everything around so it is coated by the onions and spices. Next add the water (you can use less or more than what I have noted based on how thick you want the soup). Bring to a boil and simmer until all vegetables are so soft you can mash them against the side of the pot. Add in the coconut milk and heat the soup up to a boil. Puree this mixture in blender. Add in the lemon, salt, pepper, brown sugar to your taste.
Serve with cilantro and fresh cut chilis on top.