SOLOMON ISLANDS: Curried Coconut and Lime Gourd Soup
Here’s what we learned about the Solomon Islands in our research this week:
- There are around 1000 islands that make up the country and over 70 unique languages spoken.
- It is believed that people have lived on the Solomon Islands for over 4000 years.
- Due to global warming, the sea level in the Solomon Islands has been rising by eight millimetres per year compared to the global average of 2.8 to 3.6 mm
- The Solomon Islands gained independence from Britain in 1978 – making the country younger than me.
- While very dark skinned, 5-10% of Solomon Islanders carry a gene for blond hair!
- I really want to go there someday.
There is precious little to be found about soups from the Solomon Islands online. I tried reaching out to resorts on the islands for guidance, but finally found what I was looking for by browsing the online menus of the various restaurants of the many resorts on the islands. I saw a few soups repeated – vegetable curry and pumpkin curry – so I ran with that idea.
Since everything I could find about the cuisine of the Solomon Islands talked about fish, fish, and more fish, I used fish stock in my soup, but this could be vegan by using vegetable stock. The real key to this soup is the Madras curry powder (which also happens to be SUPER good on popcorn). I found it at Safeway, so I’m guessing it should be pretty easy to find. It contains salt, so if you use a different curry powder, you’ll probably want to add some salt to your soup.
So, I worked sans sous chef today. Here’s the math:
- Sleepover + Sensitive/temperamental child= Sleep-deprived grumpy kid
- Sleep-deprived grumpy kid + Homework packets = Epic battle
- Epic battle + First time trying out the word “sucks” = Banishment to room until said homework packets were completed and a reflection about the kind of language we use in our family was written
- Banishment to room until said homework packets were completed and a reflection about the kind of language we use in our family was written + Need to make/eat soup = No sous chef
He did, however, manage to smile just once yesterday… but only because I told him to do so and (for the only time yesterday) he did what I asked. That smile, while it looks so genuine, disappeared immediately when I put down the camera and the “you’re the meanest mom in the world” routine continued. Sigh. His big brother, on the other hand, was thrilled with flying under the radar for the day, but not so thrilled with the soup. As he put it, “Mama, I’m just not a gourd guy.” Duly noted.
Okay, so parenting challenges aside, I thought this was outstanding. By using Trader Joes’ pre-cut & pre-peeled butternut squash cubes the hardest part of this soup was mincing all the shallots & the ginger. If I wanted to REALLY wanted to speed this up, I could use my mini food processor and throw everything in there to mince and this recipe would REALLY be a snap. This took about 30 minutes from start to finish and hit every mark for me – comforting, bright flavors, ever so slightly spicy, healthy, quick, easy and unique. We served it garnished with jalapeño and basil with grilled fish and jasmine rice on the side. I could eat this for lunch every day and be a happy, happy camper.
Curried Coconut and Lime Gourd Soup
- 2 tablespoons canola (or other neutral) oil
- 1 cup shallots, chopped (approximately 4 large shallots)
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 4 lbs butternut squash, pumpkin, or other orange fleshed gourd, peeled and chopped*
- 4 cups fish stock or vegetable
- 2 cups water
- 3 tablespoons Madras curry powder*
- 1 can light coconut milk
- juice of one lime
- Warm the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the shallots and cool until softened- approximately 3 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant being very careful not to allow the garlic to burn – approximately 1 minute.
- Add the gourd, stock, and water and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the gourd is tender when pierced with a fork – approximately 30 minutes.
- When gourd is tender, using a blender, food processor, or immersion blender puree soup until smooth.
- Stir in curry powder, coconut milk and lime juice. Adjust seasoning – adding more salt if necessary – and serve topped with cilantro leaves, basil leaves, jalapeño slices or anything green and pretty.
Trader Joes carries butternut squash already peeled and chopped into 1″ cubes. Crazy convenient.
Madras curry has salt added to it. If you use a different type of curry powder, you will need to add salt to your soup.