Coming from a country with such an impressive cuisine as Turkey, you wouldn’t think that my gastronomical curiosity was only awakened when I moved to the US for college. Oh but it’s true. And my most vivid culinary experience from those early fresh-off-the-boat years was definitely Indian food. All those spices and exploding aromas seduced me instantly, although for a long time I was intimidated by trying to re-create those flavors at home.
Fast forward to today, when my kitchen is finally stocked with all those spices, each of which brings such a distinctive personality to a dish. But while I love having this diversity at my fingertips, I find that there are only a handful of spices that I use on a regular basis. So here are my all-stars: cumin seeds, turmeric and the spice mix garam masala powder (which I often buy ready-made at an ethnic food shop since I don’t often get around to making my own although that is so much better). And of course no curry is complete without a base of fresh garlic and ginger (stay tuned for my upcoming kitchen tip on how to prepare this part ahead).
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, coconut ghee or butter
- 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 2-cm nub of fresh ginger, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
- 1 tablespoon garam masala powder
- Sea salt and pepper
- 1 medium butternut, cut up into 4-cm chunks (peeling is optional since the skin melts away during cooking)
- 1 400-milliliter can coconut milk OR 200 grams coconut cream
- 1 liter homemade chicken broth (or half broth, half filtered water), or enough to cover the vegetables
- Fresh parsley or cilantro, for garnish
- Heat the fat in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seeds and keep stirring, until they start releasing their aroma.
- Add the garlic and ginger, stirring regularly to make sure they don't burn. Add the powdered spices, sea salt and pepper. You can deglaze with a bit of liquid if necessary.
- Add the butternut squash, stirring well to coat them with the curry base. Let them cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add the liquid and the coconut milk or cream, bring to a boil and turn down the heat. Simmer until the vegetables are soft enough to pierce easily with a fork.
- Let the soup cool, and then mix with an immersion blender, adjusting the seasoning if necessary.
- Serve piping hot with chopped fresh parsley or cilantro.