Sunday, October 21, 2012

Roasted Pumpkin Coconut Curry Soup

4 to 4 1/2 pounds squash
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or butter
4 cloves garlic
4 small shallots
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger, from a 3-inch long piece
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon curry powder (or more to taste)
1 dried red chili, about 2 inches long (or red chili flakes)
One 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Juice of 1 lime, about 2 tablespoons
For topping:
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 small shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
Heat the oven to 400°F. Use a heavy, sharp knife or cleaver to cut the squash into quarters. Place these quarters in a roasting pan and bake for 1 hour. Put the squash aside for 15 minutes or until it is cool enough to be easily handled. When cool, peel the skin away from the squash flesh. You should have about 3 packed cups of roasted squash.
In a 4-quart or larger pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil or butter over medium heat, when the oil is hot, add the garlic, shallots, and ginger, and fry in the oil for about a minute, add the tomato paste and fry for another minute, turn the heat down and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the shallots are beginning to really soften, add the curry powder and crumble in the red chili, fry for another minute, then add the squash. Turn the heat back up to medium and fry the squash with the aromatics for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the coconut milk and chicken broth and bring to a light simmer, lower the heat and cover the pot, simmer for 30 minutes, turn off the heat and puree the soup with a hand blender or pour the soup in batches into a blender and carefully puree it, holding the top down with a towel.  Add the salt in 1/2-teaspoon increments, tasting as you go, and stir in the juice of the lime.  Serve immediately, with the garnishes.
For the toppings:
Heat a small skillet over medium heat and add the coconut.  Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the coconut is lightly toasted and brown.  Immediately put the coconut on a plate.
Wipe the skillet out and return to medium heat. Add the oil, when the oil is quite hot, add the thinly sliced shallots, fry the shallots in the oil over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until their edges just begin to turn brown, turn off the heat and immediately take the shallots out of the oil with a slotted spoon, put on a plate to cool.  Garnish  each bowl of soup when you serve.

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