Monday, November 23

Recipe: Coconut-Galangal Soup in Squash Shell

Talk about falling down on the job. Sorry this post is running late but we just got done with a restock so drop by and check out what we got. Back to the regularly scheduled post.

For today's recipe I opted for an Asian fusion dish. Thursday is Thanksgiving Day here in America, but this holiday has little to no meaning outside of the US. As such, there aren't really any specifically Asian dishes for this holiday. There are, however, Asian tastes that can be applied to your meal to spice it up a little, and offer a bit of a twist on the traditional meal. Click below to see today's recipe.

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Choose between two presentations for this recipe of intense Thai flavors. The first, more dramatic, is served in a whole pumpkin that is steamed with the soup inside. When serving, you may scoop out bits of cooked pumpkin meat although the flavor of the squash is in the soup.

The second is cooked with diced kabocha squash and is served in a tureen or individual soup bowls. This is much easier and faster but less dramatic. However, kabocha squash is sweeter and more complex in flavor than pumpkin. Select your squash carefully if you're going to serve the soup in the pumpkin shell. It has to fit in your cooking pot.

Ingredients:

One 6- to 10-pound squash that will fit whole in a stockpot or Dutch oven with at least 1 1/2 to 2 inches of space around, below and above, or about 2 cups peeled and diced kabocha squash

5 to 6 cups turkey broth or chicken broth

2 stalks of lemongrass

A 2- to 3-inch piece fresh galangal, thinly sliced, or 6 to 8 dried pieces

4 small, whole shallots, peeled and crushed

8 to 10 Thai chiles, stemmed and crushed, or 4 to 6 serrano peppers, sliced (with seeds)

6 fresh magrut (kaffir) lime leaves, torn to small pieces

2 cups sliced mushrooms

4 cups (or 2 bags) frozen coconut milk

4 to 6 tablespoons fish sauce, to desired saltiness

Freshly ground white pepper

Juice of 2 or more limes

1 to 2 tablespoons palm sugar

Cilantro leaves or short sprigs, for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

For the whole pumpkin service:

1. Cut off and discard the top of the pumpkin and scrape out the seeds and stringy flesh, leaving a 1 1/2-inch wall of squash flesh. If you wish, stencil and carve the pumpkin. Make sure the pattern only etches the skin of the squash because you need puncture-free walls to hold the soup.

2. Make sure you have a stockpot, steamer or Dutch oven with lid that the pumpkin will fit into. There should be 1-inch of space between pumpkin and lid. Place a trivet or round cake rack into the water. Select a pie plate, shallow bowl or curved plate into which the pumpkin fits snugly. Water should not touch the squash directly. Bring 1 to 3 inches of water to a boil in the pot, then reduce heat to a simmer. Place the bowl on the trivet and lower the squash into it. Cover and cook over high heat.

3. Meanwhile, bring the broth to a boil in a medium-size pot. Place the lemongrass in a medium-hot oven for about 5 minutes. Remove, cut into 2-inch lengths and bruise with a mallet or the back of a cleaver. Add the galangal, lemongrass and shallots to the soup, return to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

4. Add the chiles and lime leaves. Cook another 1 to 2 minutes, then stir in the mushrooms. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Add the coconut milk, stirring until it becomes well blended with the broth and comes back to a simmer.

5. By this time, the hollowed squash in the steamer should be partially cooked. Add boiling water to the steamer as necessary. Pour the simmering soup into the pumpkin. Cover the pot and cook for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until the flesh of the pumpkin is just tender. It is important to keep plenty of boiling water around the pumpkin all the time. Test the squash flesh with a knife. It should insert easily. However, the squash should hold its shape.

6. To finish the soup, add fish sauce, white pepper and lime juice. Balance the tartness of lime juice with enough palm sugar so the flavor of the coconut milk comes through. Top with cilantro.

Remove the pumpkin by lifting the pie plate it cooked on. Place on an attractive platter. Bring the entire pumpkin to the table. To serve, ladle out the soup. If desired, scoop a touch of the inner pumpkin flesh into the soup.

For the alternative service:

Begin at step 3, adding the kabocha squash with galangal and lemongrass. Skip step 5. To serve, pour into individual serving bowls or into a tureen and bring to the table.

Serves 10 to 12

For more recipes check out SFGATE.

Picture courtesy: floodllamma

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