Cooking with butternut squash brings a little bit of Autumn into my kitchen with its vibrant colour of orange. In Bahrain we do not witness the changing colours of Autumn like other parts of the world, which are quite stunning… but we do have some amazing sunsets. Butternut squash is technically a fruit and I love that it is so versatile to cook with. It’s sweetness pairs well with many flavours and I mostly use butternut squash in savoury dishes and on the odd occasion make pumpkin ice cream.
The recipe for this butternut squash soup is simple and I wanted to spice it up with some Togarashi, a Japanese chilli seasoning. Seasonings are a quick way of adding bursts of flavour to food when used as a table condiment. Deciding to make my own togarashi was inspired by an empty jar of the seasoning that I had and taking note of the ingredients printed on the label.
I probably would have gone out and bought another jar of togarashi if I hadn’t already got the ingredients in my store cupboard. Plus I wanted to add some pumpkin seeds, which are not a typical ingredient in the mix. Togarashi has dried orange peel (or tangerine peel) and is easily dried at home, with or without using a dehydrator. Worth keeping a jar handy in your store cupboard as dried orange peel has other culinary uses. This grainy spice mix can also be used to sprinkle over noodle dishes and stir-fry’s. I love marinating fish with miso and sometimes stir in a tablespoon or two into soups and stews, giving them an added depth of flavour.
When blending soup I prefer using a stick blender, this saves me the hassle of having to remove the soup from the saucepan and pour into a standard blender or food processor. Stick blenders are easy to use and clean-up is a breeze. I have left the miso and togarashi as optional ingredients, instead you could add some finely grated orange zest and freshly chopped coriander to the finished soup. I hope you bring a bit of Autumn colour into your kitchen this October with a warm comforting bowl of soup.
Butternut Squash Soup with Miso and Togarashi Seasoning
- 1 tablespoon, olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 800g butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and diced
- 1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored and diced
- 1-1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 large garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
- 750ml of chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 fresh bay leaf or 2 dried
- 8g miso paste (blend with 3 tablespoons of hot water to dissolve)
- for serving, togarashi seasoning (optional)
How to make: Heat the oil in a large heavy based saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft but not browned, stirring occasionally. Add butternut squash, apple, ginger and garlic and cook for another 2 minutes, stir occasionally. Pour in the stock and add the bay leaf. Bring to a boil and turn heat down to a simmer. Cover and leave to simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the butternut squash is very tender. Remove from heat and stir in the miso.
Remove the bay leaf. Blend the soup until smooth using a stick blender or a standard food processor. Re-heat if necessary and adjust seasoning with some sea salt if necessary. Ladle the soup into warm bowls and serve with some togarashi seasoning, if desired.
- 1/2 teaspoon white sesame seeds, toasted in a dry pan
- 1/2 teaspoon black sesame seeds, toasted in a dry pan
- 1 teaspoon of pumpkin seeds, toasted in a dry pan
- 1 teaspoon sichuan peppers, toasted in a dry pan
- 4inch by 3 inch piece of nori sheet, toasted over open flame or use a blow torch and shred into pieces
- 1-1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried orange peel
How to make: In a spice grinder pulse all the ingredients together until ground to a grainy texture. Place the spice mixture into an airtight jar and store in the fridge. Use as required.