Winters are here, well almost. While most days feel that way, we have been able enjoy an occasional sunny day. Yesterday was quite cold and made for the perfect setting to enjoy some warm wholesome soup.
Recently I was introduced to an amazing concoction called the butternut squash soup. The first time I came face-to-face with this pumpkin variant was a year back and couldn’t quite understand the reason for its existence (a puzzle I associate with pumpkin and turnips as well). I got my answer two weeks back when I sampled a friend’s offering of soup that had butternut squash as its main ingredient. She recalled how as kids she and her siblings had to peel and de-seed this mammoth veg in order to enjoy the family favourite for dinner. It sounded all very cute till I got down to doing the same for V’s and my dinner. I survived the peeling but when it got to making the first incision, there was a tiny mishap. You see along with the squash, came off a fraction of my digits.
Yes, I squealed and jumped just as you did right now. However, soon after we put my off my hysterics, I realised that all I had managed were moderate cuts and tiny loss of skin (can’t say that about the blood though, ‘cause that flowed plenty and caused the initial frenzy).
Once order was restored, it was back to business with making the famed soup. This is how it went.
a) Butternut squash or pumpkin: one
b) Onion: one (medium)
c) Olive oil: one tbsp
d) Garlic: 3-4 cloves, chopped
e) Chilli flakes: half a tsp
f) Nutmeg powder: a pinch
g) Garam masala: one tsp
i) Salt and pepper: for seasoning
j) Lime juice
a) Heat and oil and fry the onions till translucent
b) Add chopped garlic soon after you put the onions in and fry for a another 3-4 minutes. Make sure the onions don’t go brown
c) Add chilli flakes, nutmeg** and garam masala*
d) Next add chopped squash, season with salt and pepper and fry for 3-4 minutes.
e) Now add enough water to cover the veg, cover the pan and let the veg simmer for 30-40 minutes
f) Taste the dish sometime during the time to see if you are OK with the amount of garam masala. Do wait a few seconds after you taste it because that’s how long it takes for your tummy to feel the effects of the masala!
g) Once the squash is, well squashable, take it off the heat and let it cool for a bit before liquidising it.
h) Add lime juice and mix thoroughly.
The result is a thick warm hearty soup that when coupled with warm crusty bread/buns makes for a hearty meal or snack, whichever you prefer!
* Now I don’t like garam masala, and avoid it most times. But it works wonders in this recipe, something I learnt from my friend. The masala adds that warm feeling to the soup which makes it perfect for cold winter evenings.
** I had ODed on the nutmeg which left a bit of bitter taste at the end, so please be careful with this spice.
- The soup was totally worth the trouble!
- It’s a member of the gourd family, like the courgette and the pumpkin, and is often called a “winter squash” (like pumpkin).
- It has a sweet and nutty taste, and when roasted with other veg, it makes for a brilliant salad, more about that some other time.
..and a suggestion:
- You may replace the recipe above with pumpkin and tell me how it was!