Curried butternut squash soup

Creamy butternut squash soup simmered with curry, lemongrass, cashew nut purée and wholesome grains, namely flax and oats.

Butternut squash is one of my favourite vegetables (though technically a fruit) which go into my simmering soup pot ever so often. It has a tremendous amount of fibre and minerals and is rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin E. If it is unavailable, one can use pumpkin too, the tastes are quite similar since both have a sweet and nutty flavour.

My secret ingredients, rather unique but a wonderful and innovative way of getting the added goodness of fibre in a meal – oats and flaxseeds. I always have a healthy mix of oats and flaxseeds, which I dry roast and grind, ready in my pantry. It can be had in hot milk as cereal or mix it in with regular whole wheat flour to make rotis and parathas. It is also a nutritious component when baking cakes and muffins. Just a couple of pantry and home cooking tips, which I come up with every now and then. Culinary creativity with healthy ingredients often result in delicious and nutritious meals at home.

Ginger, garlic, lemongrass and curry powder are the flavour components of this soup, complimenting the sweet and nutty taste of the squash. No butter, no cream, no dairy, so I decided to add a little fat in the form of cashew nut purée, made with raw cashews and water. It lends a marvellous richness and of course, creamy texture to the soup.

The end product is a hearty, wholesome and nourishing pot of steaming soup for the family to enjoy.

Servings – 6

Ingredients :

Butternut squash, peeled, with seeds removed and cut in cubes – 2 lbs

1 onion, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

Garlic – 2 large cloves, chopped

Ginger – 1 tsp.

Lemongrass – 2 stalks. Remove the tough outer layerings. Finely mince the tender white of the top part of the stalks.

1 green chile or jalapeño, deseeded and chopped. For heat, do not remove seeds

Curry powder – 1 tsp.

Nutmeg – 1/4 tsp.

Paprika – 1 tsp.

Raw cashew nuts – 1/2 cup. Soak in warm water and grind to a smooth paste.

Oats and ground flaxseed – 1/2 cup

Salt and black pepper, to taste

Freshly squeezed lemon juice – 2 tbsp.

Olive oil – 2 tbsp.

In a Dutch oven or soup pot, heat olive oil. Sauté onions, carrots and celery with a pinch of salt.

Sauté till the veggies start sweating and onions start turning pink. Add the ginger, garlic and green chillies. Add the spices. Add the butternut squash. Stir well. Add the lemongrass.

Add sufficient water say 6-8 cups and the cashew nut paste and oats and flaxseeds. Stir well.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer till the veggies are tender, about 20-25 minutes.

With a hand blender, blend the soup. Add salt and pepper. Add fresh lemon juice and serve piping hot.



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