This soup has an earthy sweetness from the squash and fennel seeds that’s balanced with ginger and the heat of the chili powder. It goes well with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a crusty piece of bread.
By Chitra Agrawal
- 1 butternut squash
- 6 cups of water or stock
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 2 tablespoons ghee, butter or vegetable oil + 1 teaspoon
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- ⅓ teaspoon turmeric
- ⅓ teaspoon red chili powder (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- cilantro for garnish, chopped
- dollop of Greek yogurt (optional)
- To roast the squash: Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Cut butternut squash in half and remove the seeds and stringy stuff. Put a tablespoon of oil on a baking sheet and then place the squash pieces face down on the sheet. Move them around on the sheet so that they are all coated with oil evenly. Cook the squash for about 25-30 minutes, or until they are soft to the touch of a fork.
- Scoop out the inside of the squash and set aside.
- In a pan toast fennel seeds for about 2 minutes until fragrant and lightly browned. Pound in a mortar or grind in a spice grinder – I use an extra coffee grinder.
- In a pot, heat ghee, butter or vegetable oil under medium heat. Add in onions. When they start to turn translucent, mix in the fennel seed powder, turmeric and red chili powder. Then mix in the ginger and garlic and fry for 30 seconds.
- Add the roasted butternut squash and mix well. Add in 6 cups of water or stock, salt and bring to a boil. Simmer the soup for 20 minutes. Mix in sugar and puree the soup. At this point, you may add more water if you want a thinner consistency.
- In a little pot, heat 1 teaspoon of ghee, butter or oil under medium-high heat. Add in cumin seeds. When they start to crackle after a few seconds pour them over the soup. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish the soup with chopped cilantro.
- Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt and crusty bread.
Chitra writes the food blog, The ABCD's of Cooking, which chronicles her adventures cooking American Born Confused Desi recipes. When she is not recipe blogging, Chitra can be found hosting her online cooking show and a supper club featuring Indian-inspired, vegetarian cuisine. She also teaches cooking classes and sells Indian street foods (sometimes yummy Indian tacos!) at events and artisanal markets in Brooklyn. Her cooking has appeared in the New York Times Dining Journal and she is a contributor to The Huffington Post, Gojee, The Daily Meal and Brooklyn Based.