1 small bunch fresh coriander , leaves picked and stalks chopped
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion , finely sliced
600 ml organic vegetable or chicken stock , hot
200 g basmati rice
2 x 400 ml coconut milk
1-2 limes , juice of, to taste
fresh coconut shavings , to serve, optional
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A lovely, warming winter soup that’s easy to make. It looks wicked in little tea cups with chilli, coriander and fresh coconut sprinkled on the top.
Roughly chop the squash into big chunks, then set aside. Whiz the lime leaves, if using, 3 of the chillies, the garlic, ginger, lemongrass, coriander stalks, Chinese five spice and cumin to a dryish paste in a food processor. Discard the stringy bits, if any.
Heat the oil in a deep saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the spice paste and onion and cook gently for about 10 minutes, stirring to release the flavours. Add the squash and stock, and stir around, scraping all the goodness off the bottom of the pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, with the lid on, for about 15 minutes, until the squash is soft and cooked.
Pour in the rice and give it a really good stir – the squash might begin to break up, but it doesn’t matter. Continue to simmer, covered, for 12 minutes, until the rice is just cooked.
Add the coconut milk, stir again, taste and season carefully. Bring back to a simmer, then add the lime juice, to taste. Spoon into tea or coffee cups and decorate with the fresh coriander leaves, the remaining sliced chilli and some shaved fresh coconut, if using.