Monday, December 1, 2014

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup- Mediterranean Inspired

As we see autumn slowly winding up its vigor near our vicinity, and this makes us feel, for the onset of winter ahead. Although we still want to cling on to those colorful autumn colors that brought such visual treats to us, but it isn’t going to happen anymore. The winter hibernating trees or dormant trees have shed their last leaves, preparing themselves for the harsh winter ahead.
So, to speak, I thought may be a spicy soup with autumn’s favorite vegetables is must. I have started using butter nut squash more, in our day-today cooking these days. It’s not that I am going over the board to make this vegetable almost everyday, but occasionally I do like the sweetness it adds up to any dish – be it a soup or a simple stir/fry.

I always dread the cutting part that accompanies with butter-nut squash, but slowly I am getting used to the cutting part as well. Another good way to easily eat them, is to roast them in oven, but then that requires time and of course  it is a different recipe.On the other hand, you may use a sharp edged knife and it works fine, however be careful while cutting and peeling it.
I thought it should taste something very similar like pumpkin, but it has little variation- sweetish to taste and at the same time a nice chunky texture as well. A simple stir/fry recipe goes well also. But then my mind was more into a Mediterranean inspired cooking. There, it’s very common to use pumpkin in many soup preparations. I had butter-nut squash and I wanted to use it up differently, what followed later on was a search for a soup with Mediterranean influenced pairing and spicing up.

I had everything in my pantry that I possibly can imagine for this soup; I wanted to give a nice tangy and sweetish flavor to the soup, so it came down to tomato and butternut squash dotting on to the line. Then it was easy to assemble spicing it up with ginger, cumin and a slight hint of fennel. Actually adding fennel is just my way of playing around with the ingredients, as I do really like the soft flavor it has. Although it is up to you, if you do not wish to add in, then skip it altogether.
Here is how we made it, spiced butternut squash soup, now who doesn’t like a warm bowl of soup with a heart attached to it, at least I don’t. 
Now to the recipe
Spiced Butter Squash and Tomato Soup Recipe (Mediterranean inspired)
Recipe requirements
1 whole butternut squash
½ tsp of fennel seeds
 3 tsp of cumin seeds
1 large tomato
 ½ inch fresh ginger / or 1 tsp of dry ginger powder
1 tsp of dried herbs like thyme or parsley
1 tsp of salt or as per taste
½ tsp of black pepper powder or to taste
2-3 tsp of cooking oil
 1 tsp of corn starch

Peel the skin of butter nut squash with a sharp edged knife. Be careful while peeling the skin. Now cut into chunks out of it, discarding all the seeds. Chop tomato as well.
Now heat up a pan, add in cooking oil, and add in finely chopped ginger. Add in squash and tomato. Keep on stir/fry till the tomatoes and squash become soft. If you want to use dried ginger powder then add in after the vegetables have turn soft.
In a separate pan, dry roast fennel seeds, cumin seeds and dry grind the seeds to get spice powder. Add this dry mixture to the above pan.
Take the content off from the heat. Transfer the entire content in a blender. Add in 1 cup of water, and blend all well, preferably in batches so that it does not over-crowd the blender. If you do not want a thick soup, and then add in more liquid. You may even use chicken stock as well.Add in dried herbs of your choice if you wish to.
Now in half cup of water, dissolve 1 tsp of corn starch. Reserve it to add later on.
Put the entire blended content again to cook. Let it simmer slowly for about 10-15 mints.
Add in corn starch water and give a nice stir. After 4-5 mints it will start to thicken. Remove from further cooking.Adjsut salt and black pepper now. Serve hot with any bread. I have used double cream for garnishing and served with crackers.sometimes I like to add red chily flakes in place of black pepper for the extra heat.


You may replace butternut squash with pumpkin as well. Replace yogurt in place of double cream for even healthy option.

Happy Cooking Friends

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