Friday, July 11, 2014

Curried Calabaza Coconut Soup

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Ready to eat. Yummy!

A couple of weeks ago, I did not have much in the way of fresh produce.  The farmer's market just didn't have much that week and I had to get creative.  No worries though, I live in Puerto Rico.  I know how to get creative in the kitchen.  As you may have figured out by now, there are some staple ingredients that I always have in my kitchen and use for almost every meal.  The two main staples being onions and garlic.  I think that these are the best, most universal base for any recipe.  If you start every recipe by sauteing onions and garlic in coconut oil, you will be guaranteed to have a flavorful dish to build on.

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Two other staple ingredients that I use in about half of the things I cook are ginger and turmeric.  Ginger is great for your tummy and turmeric has all kinds of fantastic health benefits as well.  Turmeric is a powerful natural anti inflammatory, so it is sort of like nature's advil without the nasty drug hazards.  Both ginger and turmeric have been shown in various lab studies to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor effects on a cellular level.  Obviously, these studies used differing amounts of the two foods, but the way I see it, eating ginger and turmeric regularly can't hurt.   

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The broth was red from using beets so it turned pink when the coconut milk was added.

One ingredient you can find all year long in sunny Puerto Rico is calabaza.  This is a squash that is similar to a pumpkin.  The varieties grown in PR have a mostly green skin and orange flesh.  Calabaza can be substituted for pumpkin or butternut squash in some recipes, but it is slightly more watery, so some substitutions may need to be made.  This pumpkin is also rich in nutrients like potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C.  It is a very low calorie food as well.  Depending on what I plan to use calabaza for, I usually choose to leave the skin on for the extra fiber content.  Be aware that this can make your dish look less pretty though.

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Simmering away.

Curried Calabaza Coconut Soup        


1 tbsp coconut oil
1 large onion, diced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
3/4 tbsp fresh turmeric, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp recaito
3 cups calabaza squash, cut into 1 inch chunks
3 cups vegetable broth (I make my own. Adjust the salt if using store bought broth)
2 cups coconut milk (I make my own. You may need to adjust the broth if using store bought)
2 tsp curry powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Raw pumpkin seeds (optional for protein and garnish)


1. Heat coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat.
2. Add onion, ginger, turmeric and saute for a few minutes until the onion is translucent.
3. Add the garlic and recaito and saute for one more minute.  Do not let the garlic burn.
4. Add calabaza, vegetable broth, coconut milk, curry powder, and salt and bring to a boil.
5. Turn heat down and let simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the pumpkin is cooked thoroughly.
6. Immersion blend until mixture is relatively smooth, then serve.  Top with raw pumpkin seeds for protein and garnish if you like.

I hope you enjoy this healthy, vegan treat.  What are some staple ingredients you always use? 


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