Hot and sour squash peanut soup

Day 2 at INTEL…..

This soup has a kick, most people said it is medium spiced with a good balance of sweet and sour.

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The HOT kick comes from red pepper flakes and red chilies. The SOUR punch comes from the pickled red chilies and from the tamarind. The smooth SWEETNESS comes from the roasted squash and caramelized onions and carrots. And, there’s a bit of sugar in the pickled red chilis and a bit of sugar in the tamarind sauce. Both condiments would normally not be my choice –because of the added sugar– however, I used what was at my fingertips. For alternatives, see the “substitutions” list, below.

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Ingredients

  • 1 medium Butternut squash, roasted (or steamed)
  • 3 medium Romanze or Desiree Potatoes (boiling potatoes), roasted (or steamed)
  • 2 tbls oil (a neutral oil is best)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 medium Chantenay carrot, chopped (t’is a shorter, wider and sweeter variety)
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2-inch ginger, thin slivers (no need to peel)
  • 2 cups coconut milk (or 1 cup coconut flakes, 2 cups water; blend and strain)
  • 2 cups veggie broth
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 Tbls tamarind sauce (has red pepper flakes, dates; will add photo and ingredients another time)
  • 2 Tbls pickled red chili sauce (will add photo and ingredients another time)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Add red pepper flakes to taste
Directions
1. Roast or steam the squash and potatoes: cut the squash in half, length wise, place face-side down on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Add the potatoes to the baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until soft, about 40 minutes. Remove the squash seeds, scoop out the squash, set aside. Remove the potato skins.
TIP: use parchment paper for easier removal of squash from the pan, and clean up is easier, too.
TIP: t’is easier to remove the squash seeds after being cooked.
TIP: t’is easier to remove the potato skins after being cooked. Rub the potato in a cloth, I use a thick terry cloth, and the skins remove easily.
2. Meanwhile, saute’ the mirepoix: heat oil and add the onions, celery, carrots and ginger. Cook for 20 minutes on medium-to-low heat, stir often. Add the coconut milk and broth to deglaze the pan.
3. Make creamy: add the rest of the ingredients and blend until creamy.
TIP: use a blender (a high-speed blender works best) … or… use an emersion blender (will take longer time than a blender).
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Substitutions

…for a ‘true’ PALEO version:

…for the tamarind sauce:

  • 2 tsp tamarind paste (100% tamarind)
  • 2 medjool dates
  • 1 orange, juice and pulp
  • 1 lime, juice (and pulp for extra sourness)
  • pinch red pepper flakes

…for the pickled red chili sauce:

  • 1 Tbls minced pickled red chilies