Butternut squash, coconut and lemongrass soup

Butternut squash, coconut and lemongrass soup

Leiths How to Cook
Peter Cassidy


Quantity Ingredient
2 large onions
4 large garlic cloves
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium-large butternut squash, about 1 kg
4 lemongrass stalks
1 1/2 x 400 ml tins coconut milk
800ml Vegetable stock
or 800ml Chicken and veal stock
8 fresh kaffir lime leaves
or a few gratings of lime zest
4 tablespoons nam pla, or to taste
handful coriander leaves


  1. Halve, peel and dice the onions. Peel the garlic cloves and bash with the flat side of a knife.
  2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a very low heat. Add the onions and garlic, cover and gently sweat until the onions are soft and beginning to caramelise, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, peel, deseed and dice the squash.
  3. When the onions are soft, take the whole lemongrass stalks and bash them using a pestle and mortar to release their flavour. Add two of them to the onions and cook briefly, then add the diced squash and cook, stirring, for a further 5 minutes.
  4. Add the coconut milk and stock and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, until the squash is soft, about 20 minutes.
  5. Remove the lemongrass and blend the soup thoroughly using a hand-held stick blender, or in batches in a free-standing blender or food processor. For a really velvety finish, push the soup through a fine sieve, or chinois.
  6. To serve, reheat the soup gently, adding the remaining 2 bashed lemongrass stalks. Remove from the heat. Tear the lime leaves in half to release their flavour and add them, or the lime zest, with the fish sauce. Taste, and add more fish sauce if necessary. Just before serving, remove the lime leaves and lemongrass. Chop the coriander leaves and scatter them over the soup to serve.

A note on using aromatics...

  • Most aromatics (lemongrass, lime leaves etc) have a very delicate flavour, and they can lose their freshness and flavour if they cook for too long. For this reason, in Asian cuisine they are often added at the end of cooking.
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