A simple but satisfying soup, perfect for using those store cupboard ingredients, from our Contributing Food Editor Emily Jonzen
RECIPE, STYLING AND IMAGE: EMILY JONZEN
This is one of those soups made of simple, mostly store cupboard ingredients, that comes together to make something greater than the sum of its parts.
I first tried a soup like this in a family home in Vietnam. Hearty, nutty and delicately spicy, it wasn’t typical of the freshness found in more familiar Vietnamese dishes, but the addition of bolstering and savoury fish sauce, chilli and lime juice mean that it is still a fine balance of sweet, sour, salty and spicy.
The original recipe was made up of a 1:1 ratio of squash to peanuts. Whilst there is no doubt that this is completely delicious, I like to make a lighter version with a generous handful of nuts or a few dollops of peanut butter, both of which add great flavour without sending cost and calories through the roof. I give a guide on amounts but add to your taste.
As this is going out during lockdown, I make a few suggestions for alternatives – all of which should make this flexible and easy to make at home. I mention fish sauce but light soy is a perfect substitution, for instance. This makes plenty for 6 so scale down if you wish.
Spicy Squash & Peanut Soup
- 2 tbsp flavourless oil (sunflower, vegetable, ground nut)
- 1 large onion, peeled, halves and finely sliced
- 1 4cm piece ginger, peeled and finely crushed
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 stick lemongrass (optional) outer leaves removed, trimmed and finely sliced
- 1 red chilli, finely sliced / chilli flakes, to taste
- 1 medium squash (about 1 – 1.2kg) peeled, deseeded and cut into 2-3cm chunks
- 75 – 100 g unsalted peanuts / cashews or 3-4 generous dollops peanut butter
- 1.5 l vegetable stock
- Fish sauce / soy sauce, to taste
- A handful of roughly chopped coriander
- Toasted nuts, finely chopped
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion with a pinch of salt, cover and fry gently for 8-10 mins, stirring regularly.
- Once the onion is completely soft, add the ginger, garlic, lemongrass (if using) and chilli to the pan. Cook for 1-2 mins, until aromatic. Tip in the squash and nuts, pour over the stock and simmer for 15-20 mins, until the squash is tender to the tip of a knife.
- Blend the soup until smooth and creamy. Taste and season with soy or fish sauce. Serve, adding any extras that you may have.
- The soup will keep in the fridge for 3 days but also freezes really well.
Discover more of Emily Jonzen’s delicious recipes here…