Recipe: Bengali Squash Soup

A little background for this one…

There once was a girl named Melanie Seasons who procrastinated more than anyone in the world. Back in November, a nice man named Lewis asked if she would like to try out some Indian recipes in conjunction with National Curry Week and a promotion that Cobra beer had on. He even picked her up in a zany Karma Cab and brought her to work to explain all about it.

Fast forward two months, and she’s just now getting around to writing about it. She is a rubbish blogger friend, clearly.

That, I believe, brings us up to speed.

I decided, in accordance with January soup detox month, to try to make an Indian inspired soup.  There aren’t too many Indian soups, according to Anjum Anand who is the host of the BBC’s Indian Food Made Easy and author of my newest cookbook, so I had to improvise.

I took a recipe for a side dish of butternut squash and chickpeas. For the recipe, you’ll need:

Bengali Squash soup

  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 red chillies
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 tbs turmeric
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 rounded tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp crushed fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ginger paste
  • 2 litres of veg stock
  • 500 g butternut squash, peeled and deseeded
  • 175 g of canned chickpeas
  • 1 tbs garam masala

Heat the oil in a large pot, and add in the bay leaf, chillies and crushed fennel seeds, and cook over low heat for about a minute. Add in the onion and cook for about 3 minutes or until the onions are slightly translucent. Stir in the turmeric, cumin, coriander, salt, sugar, cinnamon and ginger paste. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

Add the veg stock and the squash and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the squash is fully cooked.

Stir in the chickpeas and garam masala. Simmer for another 5 minutes, and then blend until smooth.  Voila!

My only word of advice is that you might have to tweak the spices to taste. I ended up having to add in a lot more to really give it some pop. Once I got the right combination though, this soup really shined. It was easy to make, and I’ve since experimented with a couple of the other recipes in the book (mini corn cakes with coriander mint chutney and Punjabi chicken curry), and they really were a lot easier than I thought Indian food could ever be to cook.

Thumbs up.

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