When we lived in New York and Los Angeles we always had access to excellent authentic Asian food but when we lived in Tel Aviv and Mallorca it was available but not as good (except for one Chinese restaurant in Palma that was fantastic and inexpensive, Shi Shun Xuan. We discovered it only the second time we lived in Mallorca.) To satisfy our constant craving to Asian food I cooked a lot with Asian flavors. I would add ginger, scallion and soy or fish sauce or rice vinegar to non-asian recipes. It wasn’t authentic but it was flavorful and umami. When the boys asked me what kind of soup it is, I had to think for a moment “mmm, it’s Asian”. Yes, but where exactly in Asia? From all over Asia. It has Indian, Vietnamese and Thai flavors, and with Japanese Ramen noodles. Trust me, it’s yummy and umami.
Butternut Squash Soup With Asian Flavors
- ¼ cup avocado or coconut oil
- 1 large onion , peeled and chopped roughly
- 2 garlic cloves chopped roughly
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped roughly
- ½ butternut squash, peeled and chopped roughly
- Handful green beans cut into 1-inch pieces – optional
- 2 inch ginger, chopped roughly
- 2 lemongrass stalks – beaten with a rolling pin, then cut into 1-inch pieces or a small handful Verbena lor lime leaves
- 4 fresh curry leaves or 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds, crushed
- 2 teaspoons turmeric powder or fresh
- ½ teaspoon Black pepper
- Pinch of salt*
- 2 heaping tablespoons tomato paste or 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 2 quarts vegetable stock or water
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce – optional
- 1 cup soy or coconut milk
- 1 small package of ramen noodles or any noodle of your choice
- Handful cilantro – chopped finely – optional
- Warm the oil in a large heavy-bottom pot over medium heat. Add the vegetables, lemongrass and curry leaves and saute, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add the spices, salt and tomato paste and stir.
- Add the stock or water and bring to a boil.
- Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, until the liquid reduced and the vegetables are tender. Add the fish sauce, soy or coconut milk and continue to cook for 3 more minutes. Taste and correct seasoning.
- Cook the noodles according the package instructions. Make sure to wash them in cold water to stop their cooking.
- Strain the soup into another pot, then with a fork or tongs grab the vegetables and put them back in the soup. Bring the soup into a boil. Remove from the heat and serve in medium bowls. Add a handful of noodles and garnish with cilantro. You can add sriracha for spiciness.
- add only a little bit of salt because you’ll be adding fish sauce towards the end.