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Thai Red-Curry Squash Soup

By 2:00 PM , , , ,

This no meat thing is definitely forcing me to cook outside my comfort zone. Though we are doing a lot of seafood, I'm making a conscious effort to try an equal number of vegetarian recipes as well. I've had this Food & Wine recipe for quite some time now and this seemed like the perfect time to try it out.

For a vegetable based soup, I really was surprised by the amount of flavor there was.  Despite how prominent the ginger and red curry are, the butternut squash still shines and the lemongrass is definitely there.  This recipe was definitely a winner in my book.

A few notes:
- Turns out that these winter squashes weren't the easiest to find. I finally found buttercup (not to be confused with butternut) at Fresh Market. I would call around before I drove from store to store looking for them!
- If you are only making servings for 2-4 people, there is no need to sliver up 1 full cup of fresh ginger. Half a cup will do (this is for garnishing).
- I added a few good squirts of Sriracha in with the coconut milk, etc. If you like Sriracha and you like a little bit of its flavorful heat, I would recommend doing the same.
- I used "light" coconut milk in place of regular coconut milk to cut calories and fat.
- Food & Wine recommends pairing this with Rieslings with a bit of residual sugar.
- I also think this would be excellent served with grilled shrimp skewers that have been marinated in the red curry paste. Just an idea! :)

Thai Red-Curry Squash Soup

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh ginger, plus 1 cup slivered fresh ginger
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
3 pounds kabocha, kuri or buttercup squash—peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch pieces
5 cups water
Two 13 1/2-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk
2 lime leaves or 1 teaspoon lime zest
1 large stalk of fresh lemongrass, smashed and cut into 2-inch lengths
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large scallions, thinly sliced

In a large, heavy pot, melt the butter. Add the onion and sliced ginger and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, 7 minutes. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add the squash and water and bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer over low heat until soft, 25 minutes. Add the coconut milk, lime leaves and lemongrass, cover partially and simmer for 30 minutes longer. Discard the lime leaves and lemongrass.

Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender; add it to a clean pot. Stir in the sugar and lime juice and season with salt.

In a medium skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the slivered ginger and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden brown and crisp, 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the ginger to paper towels to drain.

Reheat the soup; ladle it into bowls. Garnish with the fried ginger and scallions and serve.

MAKE AHEAD The soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

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