One of the reasons I love fall/autumn cooking is the abundance of squash. I love squash’s versatility: you can roast it, stuff it, boil and mash it, add it to curries, and puree it into soups. We’ve already done all of the above this fall, mainly with vibrant Hokkaido (aka “red kari/kuri”) squash, a relatively new discovery for F and me but a squash variety that is readily available here in Germany, and often cheaper than Butternut squash. Hokkaido has another advantage in that it doesn’t need peeling: the skin is thin enough to eat once cooked.
We often oven-roast slices of squash (season with salt, pepper, and fennel seeds) as a staple side dish, but F has also made this delicious Hokkaido squash soup three or four times in the past couple of months. We love it, and it has already become one of our go-to easy lunches or dinners.
This Hokkaido soup with ginger and coconut has a short ingredient list and lots of vitamins to keep you healthy through the winter (although you should also get a flu shot – herd immunity, people!). The recipe can be as flexible as you want: use more ginger, leave out the turmeric, use water instead of stock, add celery root – or not! I wouldn’t recommend leaving out the coconut milk, though; one can gives the soup just the right amount of coconut flavor and enhances its silky-smooth texture.
Hokkaido Squash Soup with Ginger & Coconut (F’s original recipe; makes 4-6 portions)
- olive oil, or neutral oil of your choice
- 1-2 medium onions, roughly chopped
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- “a hefty amount” (2in/4-5cm) fresh ginger root, peeled & roughly chopped
- 1-2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 small-medium Hokkaido squash, washed, de-seeded, & cut into medium-large chunks (you could use Butternut squash instead if that’s easier to find where you live)
- optional: 1/4 – 1/2 celery root, peeled & cut into medium-large chunks
- 1L vegetable stock
- 1 can (400mL) coconut milk
- to taste: salt & pepper
- Prep onions, garlic, ginger, and stock. Cut up your squash and celery root.
- Heat a few generous glugs of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger and sauté, stirring occasionally, until they soften and start to brown.
- Add turmeric and stir for a minute or so.
- Add squash and celery to the pot. Pour in enough stock that it just covers the vegetables (or use more liquid for a thinner soup).
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to an active simmer. Put the lid on and cook until the vegetables are soft enough to puree, about 15-20 minutes.
- Take the pot off the heat and use an immersion blender (or transfer carefully to a standard blender) to puree the soup until smooth.
- Stir in the coconut milk. Do not return the pot to the heat – the coconut milk may split.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve with crusty bread.
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