This is a wonderful pureed vegetable or pureed veggie soup, depending on how you serve it, that is based on an African ground nut (pea nut) and squash soup I tasted way back in 1984 at The Prophet restaurant in Encinitas, California.
In Africa this soup would be made with boiled raw peanut and squash ground to a paste with african palm oil and spices. I don’t prefer peanuts, so I make it with either boiled raw almond, or, my preference toasted almond butter or tahini. Tahini, if you use the one made in Lebanon, gives a creamier taste than almond butter, but it is a little bitter and not sweet like almond butter. Roasted almond butter has such a nice fragrance. Once I made this with cashew butter, which was delcious–sweeter than almond, it gives a lighter color to the soup.
I like to use mild Indian curry powder, or ground cumin, coriander and turmeric to increase the warming properties of this dish. But one could make it very simple, with just onions, especially if having as a side dish with something else spicy.
Depending on my mood I may choose a spicy red onion or a sweet brown onion. But sauteing the onion in oil brings out its sweetness, so I usually like the red onion, since the squash itself is already sweet.
You can also use other squashes. Kabocha is a dark and dense hard squash with the strong flavor to measure up to curry powder and almond. You can make a very mild version of this with just butternut squash, which has a more subtle delicate flavor, and sauteed white onion.
Occasionally I will add a little coconut milk to this dish, especially if my hand got heavy with curry powder….
The basic principle is boil squash, saute onions with spices, add nut or seed paste, and voila. The secret to success is balancing the correct amounts of the ingredients.
Three cups of chopped Kabocha squash, steamed till soft
One large red or sweet onion
2-3 slices raw ginger root
2 tsp curry powder, to taste
2 tbsp your favorite nut or seed butter, raw or toasted
Sesame or any nut oil to sautee onions. Palm oil is excellent
Salt and white pepper to taste
Steam the squash, save the steam water, cool, place in blender.
Saute the onions with ginger till brown, lower the flame, add curry powder, and brown on very low for 3-5 minutes, taking care not to burn the spices.
Place all the ingredients in the blender or food processor and puree until smooth, adding the steam water if necessary to thin.
Enjoy as a soup, or as a vegetable side dish with wehani red rice, or any rice or cous cous.
Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine
This is an excellent soup for people with weak Spleen Qi or weak Agni. It is warming, sweet, slightly spicy–depending on your curry powder and the amount you use–and moistening, perfect for Vata types, ok for balanced Pitta and Kapha types, and generally good for the Autumn season, dominated by Vata.
copyright all rights reserved eyton shalom, san diego, ca october 2010 use with permission.
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