janet @ the taste space

South African Spiced Butternut Squash and Roasted Banana Soup with Coconut and Lime

In Soups on May 2, 2010 at 10:24 AM

I like to follow different food blogging events as a way to meet new bloggers, discover new foods and to push my own kitchen barriers. When I first saw that the current Monthly Mingle was featuring South African cuisine, I was intrigued. Um, what IS South African cuisine?  So I googled… and stumbled across a very interesting African cookbook.  I learned it is also known as “rainbow cuisine” due to its blend of dishes from many origins and cultures including dishes from the indigenous people of South Africa as well as the dishes brought from immigrants from India, Afrikaner and British descent.  The Cape Dutch dishes which incorporate nutmeg, allspice and hot peppers can be fused with Cape Malay dishes that includes curries, sambals and fish stews.

The following recipe for South African Spiced Butternut Squash and Roasted Banana Soup with Coconut and Lime does just that. It comes from Grant Cullingworth, the executive chef at Table Bay Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa, and was adapted from those posted here and here. It is a delicious sweet soup that balances the sweetness of the butternut squash and a roasted banana, with the creaminess of coconut milk, the spicy kick of chilies (or curried if you want the original version) with the bitter tang of lime.  It was a thick soup, so don’t be shy to add extra stock.  I ate some as a soup, but later also used the thicker soup base as a filling for ravioli and found it absolutely incredible as a spread over a multigrain bread.

This is my submission to this month’s Monthly Mingle featuring dishes from South Africa.

South African Spiced Butternut Squash and Roasted Banana Soup with Coconut and Lime

1 butternut squash (about 11/2 pounds), cleaned, peeled and diced into 1-2 cm pieces
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 ripe banana, unpeeled
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder (I used 1/4 tsp Aleppo chili flakes because I don’t like curry but this could definitely be increased for those who want heat)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup coconut milk (I used slightly less)
1 cup chicken stock (use vegetable stock for a vegetarian soup), plus extra for adjusting thickness

Fresh cilantro leaves
Juice of 1 lime, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

Garnish: Fresh cilantro, pumpkin seeds, and pumpkin seed oil (or truffle oil or hazelnut oil, if desired), bruschetta.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine 2 tbsp melted butter with brown sugar and honey. Mix with chopped butternut squash and lay over 1-2 cookie sheets for roasting (do not overcrowd). Roast in a 350 F oven until caramelized and soft to the touch, about 20 minutes. Roast the unpeeled banana in the oven at the same time.

3. Melt the other 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan on medium heat, and add the garlic until fragrant. Sweat the onion and carrot for a few minutes until tender. Add the curry powder (or chili flakes), coriander, nutmeg and cinnamon, and cook slowly for a few more minutes.

4. Remove the banana from its skin, slice and add it with the butternut to the pan, along with the coconut milk and broth. Simmer until hot. Blend the soup in a blender until smooth. Adjust to consistency desired with more broth, if necessary (you will need a lot, but the thicker soup is GREAT as a spread, too). Add fresh cilantro, lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Blend again until smooth and pass the soup through a chinois or household strainer. (Yeah, I skipped that!)

5. Serve hot (reheat if necessary). Pour soup into bowls and garnish with a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil, a few toasted pumpkin seeds and a sprig of fresh cilantro. If desired, serve with a slice of bruschetta.

Serves 6.

  1. Why hello there gorgeous.

    I love meeting new bloggers and forcing myself to try new foods through entering blog events also. It’s just so much fun and really forces me to think and cook outside my comfort zone.

    This dish is something I would absolutely adore, considering my serious addiction to butternut squash. So good.

    I just posted my Monthly Mingle recipe as well…I loved this theme!

  2. This soup sounds so interesting and good!

  3. Not sure that this is a traditional South African dish, but the spices and flavourings used are definitely South African in spirit! Very keen to give this a go – sounds very intriguing!

  4. This sounds very unique and different. When I think of roasted bananas… dessert is the first thing that comes to mind. I am familiar more with plantains for cooking than bananas, so thank you for opening my eyes to the possibilities.
    My blog celebrated Africa Day with a collection of recipes from across the continent. I would love your thoughts. http://www.caseyangelova.com/2010/05/lets-celebrate-africa-day-2010.html

  5. Sounds great, but I’m curious about that banana. Wouldn’t roasting a ripe, unpeeled banana for 20 minutes leave you with mush… you can still slice it?? Other than that, looks quite easy. Thanks

    • You are right that the banana is quite soft. Cutting it up is just to diffuse it throughout the dish when cooking. Mixing could work too. 🙂

  6. […] Just as I have been averse to dishes named curry, I have been avoiding dishes calling for “curry powder”. I will typically substitute garam masala. […]

  7. […] else you could do with that ripe banana in the fruit basket? How about using it in a soup! This soup recipe from Tastespace was delicious and quite […]

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