Spicey Roasted Butternut Soup

So, I have been home for a while since the national lockdown forced our offices to close. Listen, there is no place like home, says me who has never taken a swim in Maldives or had a sip of coffee in Morocco while watching the sunset on the dunes. None the less I am still convinced that everywhere you go at the end of the day, home is everything in one. Here is why I say that:

It was Day Number Something of Lockdown (I stopped counting after Day number 25 for my mental health) and I was proper disorientated. I’m used to being in my own space and not having three people to converse with in the morning, afternoon and night. My dishes are never more than 5 plates, I clean only four rooms, I water the plants only on my balcony only and I cook for one. Suddenly we have all these different personalities under one roof, constantly on each other’s backs 24/7 so much so that I start noticing little things like “why does my dad cough so loudly, damn”. We cannot exit and take a family day trip just to ease our minds or visit a friend for some fresh company. Nope! We just outchea staring at each other and recognizing new and awkward things on the daily.

I specifically remember one day when I headed out to the shops and spotted a veggie combo. You know em. The ‘buy four veggies for just R100’ combos. I notice that we don’t have any butternut and onions at home so I grab that combo confidently thinking to myself what a great daughter I am. I arrive home only to find that my mum had packed the butternut and onions on a different veggie rack. But wait. There’s more! Did my father not come back home also confidently carrying butternut and onions thinking he’s such a great husband and father? Naturally, my mother gave us a mouthful and naturally my father and I stole a look at each other and secretly walked into the TV room laughing. I mean where else can one get that kind of a moment with the people that kept you afloat during such gloomy, anxiety filled days that were heavily ridden with uncertainty. It’s obviously such a treat to lay on the beach and snack on spicy pineapples and sip on cocktails but nothing compares to having a place where love is served daily.

Speaking of things being served daily, you know we had to eat that butternut on the daily right? This is where this awesome recipe comes in. You could choose to simply boil the butternut instead of roasting but there’s this smoky edge to the soup when its roasted. I added a lot of ginger too because I realized that my Corona paranoia led me into buying a tad bit more ginger and lemon than normal. Alternatively, you can choose to use garlic instead or lower the ratio. If you don’t have a blender, you could simply mash the soup at the end. Also, a word of advice. Before buying groceries, ask your mother what is missing in the kitchen.

INGREDIENTS

*1 large butternut cut into medium sized cubes

*1 spoon coriander seeds (optional)

*1 spoon chilli flakes

*1 spoon dried herbs

*1 spoon cinnamon

*1 spoon sugar

* pinch of salt

*1 large red or white onion finely chopped

*1 /2 yellow pepper finely chopped (optional)

*1 /2 red or green pepper finely chopped

* 2 spoons garlic and ginger paste or fresh garlic and ginger ground to a paste of

* 1 spoon

*1 tsp curry powder

*1 tsp cumin1 tsp curry paste

*1 can coconut milk or 2 cups vegetable stock

*1 spoon toasted pumpkin seeds to garnish and toasted coconut flakes

METHOD

1.Preheat oven to 180 and add your chopped butternut into an oven dish.

2.Sprinkle coriander seeds, chilli flakes, dried herbs, cinnamon, sugar and salt then pour three spoons of oil all over.

3.Mix until ingredients are well combined and cook in the oven for 30 minutes or more until tender and well cooked.

4.In the meantime, add your chopped onion and peppers into an oily pan and cook for one minute.

5.Add in your garlic and ginger, curry powder, cumin and curry paste and fry for 5 minutes on medium heat while stirring.

6.When butternut is cooked, add it into your pan and continue to fry for another five minutes until well combined.

7.Pour in your coconut milk and stir well then close the lid for 5 minutes.

8.Remove pot from the stove and let it rest for 5 minutes.

9.Blend until there are no chunks left.

10.Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes and serve.

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