A sunny Sunday in December - good day to hit up an Asian market for the makings of this brightly flavored, colorful soup. (Especially since my co-bloggers are home with our mom being pampered, and I'm not there yet - time to spoil myself and some friends.)
I followed the (fantastic) recipe reasonably closely, though I do I recommend larger quantities of a lot of the key ingredients to really amp up the sunny flavor. (I also recommend skipping the heavy cream.)
2 kabocha squash
2 tsp minced garlic
1 TB minced ginger
1 tsp grated galangal
Innards of 1 stalk lemongrass, minced & crushed
2 finely diced shallots
2 handfuls of Thai basil leaves & one of cilantro leaves
2.5 TB red Thai curry paste
2 tsp sweet curry powder
1 cup water
2 cans coconut milk
2 quarts stock
4 TB date sugar (I didn't have this & used brown)
2 tsp fish sauce (you can get vegetarian fish sauce at Asian markets)
Juice of 6 key limes or 2-3 regular limes (maybe more)
Start by roasting the squash. Halve & seed them, then brush both sides (skin too) with oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until totally soft.
For soup broth, start by sweating Group One ingredients in a little oil for a few minutes. Then add Group Two ingredients and mix to dissolve curries. Add Group Three ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce heat & simmer for 20 minutes. Then add the squash (peeled, of course) and simmer for another 15. When soup had simmered long enough to blend flavors, add Group Four. Then adjust the overall flavor - it should be bright and tangy, with, as the original recipe says, a sweet-hot-salty-sour balance. (Adding sugar, curry, fish sauce, and lime respectively will balance these).
Finally, blend the soup.... never have I so sorely yearned for an IMMERSION BLENDER. I didn't bother straining out the little bits of leaves and lemongrass - they looked nice and weren't bothersome when eating.
This was my favorite new thing I've made in a long time - I just wanted to keep tasting it even after I'd had two bowls. The original plan was to whip up some pad thai or something as well, but the soup felt sufficient all by itself. (Read: I planned poorly and ran out of time! Still happy with dinner, though.)