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Curried Kabocha Squash – Apple Soup

Kabocha squash soup with apples, curry powder and touch of coconut milk.

In our over-scheduled lives that feel overwhelming from the moment the alarm jolts us awake every morning, do people have time to cook anymore?

If you’re working a job that makes you feel completely depleted at the end of the day, do you have the energy to make the series of decisions it takes to make a dinner for yourself and others at the end of the day?

If you’ve been pulled in so many directions by your family’s needs all day, and, oh yeah, had to find a plumber to come open a drain plugged up by only God knows what, do you even have the desire to pretend you’re ‘living the life’ in Provence where you drift dreamily out to your lush garden with your children who always wear white clothes that never seem to get dirty or wrinkled, to be inspired to whip up some simple but creative meal for everyone, while sharing a meaningful lesson on food to your children?

Then you’re a better woman than I.

There’s a lot of debate going on about what we cook for ourselves and our families at the end of the day. Are we reaching for processed food because it’s an easy fix for our hunger? Or do we live on take-out? And is canned soup really so bad if the alternative is un-assuaged hunger or a dinner of cookies?

At various times in my life, I’ve gone through long stretches of time of doing all the above: I’ve probably made hundreds of meals based on processed food; I’ve dined on take-out for long stretches when I’ve found myself in jobs that were taking more from me than giving back; and in my 20’s, I sometimes would just have cookies for dinner before heading out with friends to play some tennis. Sometimes life – both good and bad – just gets in the way of our taking care of ourselves.

These days I try to plan my life a little better, now that I’m not just cooking for myself. I’ve finally learned it’s good to have a backup plan. For me, that means such things as doubling a soup recipe and freezing half of it in small, individual freezer-safe containers that can be easily defrosted for a quick healthy meal. Then all I need to make is a salad filled with seasonal fruit or veggies to round out our meal. Some soups are hearty enough to stand on their own for dinner, like chili or a posole; while others are a perfect lunch or light dinner, like the below Kabocha Soup.

Kabocha squash freshly roasted

Before diving into the recipe, a little about kabocha squash. Although most types of squash are believed to have originated in Mesoamerica, kabocha may have been cultivated independently elsewhere, and is today considered a Japanese pumpkin. We usually see them in the stores with a beautiful blue-green, slightly bumpy skin, although red kabochas have a brilliant red-orange color. Inside, the flesh is bright, almost fluorescent orange that’s texturally reminiscent of sweet potatoes when cooked. And you can just imagine all the beta-carotene that’s in a cup of it! So in answer to the above question, opening a can of soup is better for you than cookies for dinner, but this Kabocha Soup is much, much better for you than the canned.

Kabocha Squash and Apple Soup with Coconut

Cook’s Notes:

  • I used Fuji apples.
  • I used a food processor to purée the soup.
  • You can double the recipe and freeze half of it in individual freezer-safe containers for your backup plan for dinner at the end of a hectic day.
  • Sometimes I roast kabocha whole, to save time, but I feel the best flavor comes from roasting them halved. The squash flesh is a little sweeter, and has a caramelized edge to it, due to having the flesh exposed.

Ingredients…

  • 1 – 2 kabocha squash, weighing 5 pounds total
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ½ apples, cored and coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (preferably homemade)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder (sometimes I’ve used as much as 1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 2 ½ tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1 glug sherry (1 – 2 tablespoons)
  • Toasted squash seeds for topping (optional)

Making It…

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Cut the squash in half with a sharp knife. Scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp and place in a bowl of water. Lightly oil the squash and place face down on a baking sheet. Roast for one hour, or until the flesh of the kabocha is tender. Remove from the oven and let cool until you can easily remove the skin. Coarsely chop the flesh.
  2. Heat up the olive oil in a large pot and add the onions and apples. Sautè until soft.  Add the squash and the broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes to meld the flavors, and purée with a food processor, countertop blender or immersion blender until the soup is velvety smooth.
  3. Reheat the soup and add the remaining ingredients. Simmer for 10 minutes and serve.
  4. Optional: sprinkle a few toasted squash seeds over the top of the soup.
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38 Responses to “Curried Kabocha Squash – Apple Soup” Subscribe

  1. Rosemary November 15, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

    Enjoyed your words, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy your soup! Have a Kobacha from my CSA that’s waiting to be cooked!

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian November 15, 2011 at 9:41 pm #

      Thanks Rosemary! I really appreciate it – I hope you like the soup! See you tomorrow night.

    • Rosemary November 18, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

      Your Kabocha Apple soup is delicious! I made the homemade vegetable broth – so easy to do and worth little bit of effort.

      • The Wimpy Vegetarian November 19, 2011 at 10:08 am #

        Thanks so much Rosemary! I’m so glad you tried the soup and liked it so much!! You just made my day!!!

  2. lizthechef November 15, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

    At last, I photo of Kabocha squash – which I keep confusing with something similarly named that people are using to make tea…Lovely recipe, Susan!

  3. Ashley Pierson (@AshleyAnPierson) November 15, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

    This looks delicious Susan! Yum Yum!

  4. current vintage November 15, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

    So delicious sounding, I will put this on my soup rotation.

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian November 15, 2011 at 9:43 pm #

      Thanks Mary!! It’s got a bit of an Asian twist to it, which tends to work really well with kabocha.

  5. lapadia November 15, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

    I love any squash & apple combo, my granny smith/butternut pie was originally with kabocha but we had so many butternuts in the garden…the rest was history. This sounds delicious, I love your soups. Impressed with your photos…

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian November 15, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

      Thanks Linda! I have to admit that soups are my favorite type of meal. I make a new one almost every week – at least! I hope you like it!

  6. boulangere November 15, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

    Susan, this is your richest post yet. Very meaty, if you’ll forgive the pun. There is much I’m looking forward to respond to here, but I’m utterly spent. Great day, but spent nonetheless. Let me get some sleep, and I’ll respond tomorrow. Beautiful writing here! Thank you, it was a lovely end to a very long couple of days. Nice note to sleep on. After I throw together a quick chicken sandwich and fall into bed.

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian November 15, 2011 at 9:45 pm #

      Thanks b!! I really so appreciate your comment – especially at the end of a long day for you; and what I know has been a long couple weeks. ‘Talk’ to you tomorrow! Glad to hear you’re not resorting to cookies for dinner :-)

  7. Ms. T November 15, 2011 at 9:54 pm #

    First of all, how did you know my kitchen drain was clogged with God knows what, which was my excuse to get takeout tonight??? (no joke–do you have a good plumber?). Second, and way more importantly, what a great post! Funny writing, delicious recipe, and gorgeous photography–what a combo.

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian November 15, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

      Thanks so much Tiffany!! I really appreciate it! And that is so funny – I obviously had no clue this was your day. I’ll check with my husband the plumber – we recently had one here … and I’ll send you an email. Saw Meryl’s place a couple nights ago – fabulous, fabulous!

  8. Annapet (@thedailypalette) November 16, 2011 at 8:16 am #

    Thank you for sharing this and linking up again to Squash Love! Squash makes a wonderful secret ingredient since we can whip up soups, salads, main entrees, and desserts! [Wishful thinking here that you'll wow us with a dessert next ;-).]

    Kabocha is one of my favorites, perhaps even my top squash now. I love its sweetness, and the bonus meatier seeds for roasting ;-).

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian November 16, 2011 at 9:15 am #

      Thanks for stopping by, Annapet!! And yes, I’m definitely going to be linking in a dessert. I have some freshly roasted pumpkins to play with now :-) And yes, squash can be an amazing secret ingredient. A great idea I got from my husband’s step-daughter was to add squash puree to the braising liquid for short ribs! I did this recently for a brisket, and it added a subtle great added flavor complexity.

  9. The Elegant Eggplant November 16, 2011 at 8:30 am #

    Yum yum… LOVE the coconut addition!!

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian November 16, 2011 at 9:16 am #

      Thanks so much theeleganteggplant!! All you need is a little and suddenly the soup just really changes in flavor and texture. To me it got more velvety.

  10. Ashley Pierson (@AshleyAnPierson) November 16, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    Susan, didn’t you have the 3 bowls idea? If so, I can’t find it here. If I am wrong, forgive me, my mind slips some days! LOL!

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian November 16, 2011 at 9:18 am #

      Hmm. 3 bowls doesn’t ring a bell, Ashley, but God knows my mind slips too some days :-) I always use the 3-bowl method for breaking eggs, but do you mean 3 bowls for making soup?

      • Ashley Pierson (@AshleyAnPierson) November 16, 2011 at 9:33 am #

        Hi Susan, it must have been from someone else on FOOD52. I thought someone else started a blog about the time you did, and for that reason I thought it was you. That’s okay, I am sure it will come to me!

  11. Ashley Pierson (@AshleyAnPierson) November 16, 2011 at 9:41 am #

    Susan it was Waverly from FOOD52! Apparently my brain came back on!!

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian November 16, 2011 at 9:47 am #

      Love it when the light goes on! I love Waverly’s food! I don’t think I realized she had just started a blog too – I will definitely check it out today! Thanks for letting me know.

  12. juniakk November 16, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    kabocha is my favorite winter squash!! i love the texture and flavor of it. my favorite is just to steam and eat. lol. delicious idea of making it into a soup. sending some #squashlove to you!

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian November 16, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by juniakk!! With it being a little sweeter than butternut, I’ll bet it would be great just au natural! Thanks for the #squashlove – and back to you!

  13. erin @ yummy supper November 16, 2011 at 11:14 am #

    I’ve been staring at my Kabocha squash waiting for it to tell me what to make out of it;) And here you are with a yummy soup recipe for me. Looks delish! I really like the addition of apple and coconut flavors.
    -Erin

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian November 16, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

      Thanks erin! What perfect timing. The apple and coconut add a little fruity exoticness to the soup while still keeping it firmly a kabocha soup. I hope you try it and like it!!

  14. Richgail Enriquez November 16, 2011 at 11:41 pm #

    YUM! I’d love to try this. And I especially like that you make your own vegetable broth, will have to try that recipe too.

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian November 17, 2011 at 8:19 am #

      Thanks so much for your comments! Vegetable broth is so easy, and you can really tailor it to the dish it will be used in to amp up a flavor. Hope you enjoy it!!

  15. mjskit November 17, 2011 at 8:21 pm #

    I discovered Kabocha last year and now it’s my favorite squash. I’ve made a couple of soups with it, but I think I like your recipe better. I will have to be making this soon!

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian November 17, 2011 at 9:26 pm #

      Thanks so much mjskit! I hope you like it – I’d love to hear your thoughts if you make it!

  16. Bevi November 21, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

    Making squash soup for dinner, a few days before Thanksgiving, is a tradition in our house. Kabocha makes a lovely soup. I also love to use Sweet Dumpling. Soup is so good, and a nice light respite from the heavy eating days to come. This is a gorgeous recipe and I can’t wait to try it!

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian November 21, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

      Thanks Bevi!! This time of year I have a lot of soups for dinner. I love the rich intense flavor of the kabocha, and it’s so uniquely different from other squashes. I’d love to hear how you like it if you make it!

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian November 21, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

      I meant to add that I haven’t tried Sweet Dumpling! I’m adding it to the list to try! Thanks :-)

  17. @Mango_Queen November 25, 2011 at 9:06 pm #

    Ok, you had me at “soup”. But you made it kabocha, so now I’m hooked! Love this so much!

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian November 25, 2011 at 9:33 pm #

      Thanks so much @Mango_Queen! I hope you like it if you try it. I love kabocha – it’s so different from other winter squash.

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