If the recent holidays were exhausting for you like it was for me, then this Kalabasa -Kabocha Squash Soup with Coconut is what you need right now. Don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas and the holiday season. The happiest memories of my life were from Christmases growing up in the Philippines and I try to recreate a lot of the Filipino dishes my mom cooked then in my American kitchen today. My sons were home for the holidays and we enjoyed cooking together the entire time. I learned new recipes from my sons who took over the kitchen on Christmas day, much to my delight.
But, after cooking classic Filipino kakanins with squash during the holidays, I still had half a kalabasa or kulabasa, as we called it in the Philippines. It was too soon for more rich rice cakes but the brutal winter temperatures on the east coast this week made me long for soup all day long. I wanted a hearty, wholesome soup that would fill us and warm us up. I yearned for soup that was cozy and as comforting as a plush blanket on the couch. This Kabocha Squash Soup was just the thing.
The thick texture of squash got smoother as I boiled it some more together with the coconut cream. The mix of squash and coconut together intensified the sweet flavors. But the sautéed shrimps and pork cubes gave the savory dimension to the soup and the salty aromas were so inviting. I couldn’t resist dipping my spoon into the simmering stockpot to sample a few sips of the piping-hot soup concoction. Once plated, the vibrant golden squash color combined with the shrimps, pork and garnish brought back the festive appeal to our table, amidst the backdrop of grey, snowy skies outdoors.
As much as I was grateful for the past year, I am filled with hope and optimism for the coming year. No matter how much turmoil the world seems to be in, I am hopeful that deep inside each of us, we possess an embodiment of goodwill and kindness. That’s all we need to make this world better. Well, that and good soup like this one.
Kalabasa -Kabocha Squash Soup with Coconut, Shrimps and Pork
- Stockpot : 4 to 6 quarts
- Food processor or blender
- 3 cups boiled kalabasa (kabocha squash) mashed
- 1 cup coconut cream canned
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic peeled, minced
- 1 whole white onion medium-sized, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon sliced fresh ginger cut in thin strips of 1/2-inch length
- 1/4 pound fresh shrimps peeled, tails removed
- 1/4 pound lean pork shoulder cut into 1/2-inch sized cubes, trim fat
- 1 Tablespoon patis (fish sauce)
- 6 cups organic vegetable broth
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper powder
- 1/2 cup sliced cherry tomatoes halved, for garnish
- 1/2 cup sliced red or green bell pepper 1/2-inch strips, for garnish
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- How to prepare the kabocha squash: In a deep stockpot filled with water, blanch half of a whole squash over high heat for 5 to 6 minutes. The inside skin should be soft enough to manage. Scrape off the seeds and discard. Cut the inside orange flesh into cubes, then mash it with a large fork till you have about three cups for this recipe. Set aside.
- To make the soup: In a small saucepan, over medium heat, combine the mashed squash and 1 cup of coconut cream. Simmer over low heat for ten minutes till squash is softer. Coconut cream can burn if heat is too high, so keep it to a low simmer. Stir a few times to prevent sticking to the bottom. Turn off heat and set aside.
- In a large stockpot, over medium high heat, add the vegetable oil. After 1 to 2 minutes when oil is hot enough, sauté the garlic, onions and ginger.
- Add the shrimps and pork cubes to the sauté. Then pour the fish sauce. Stir the ingredients so the shrimps and pork cubes cook evenly. The shrimp will turn to pink and the pork will brown in about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the shrimps and pork and set aside.
- To the same stockpot, add the squash-coconut mixture. Pour the vegetable broth. When the soup boils, lower the heat to a slow simmer so it does not burn.
- Season with salt and black pepper. Cover and continue simmering for ten minutes more.
- Return the cooked shrimps and pork cubes to the soup. Mix and turn off heat.
- Serve soup piping-hot. Garnish each individual soup bowl with cherry tomatoes, green pepper strips and chopped parsley.
- Cook's comments: If a smoother, thinner consistency of soup is preferred, use an immersion blender while simmering the kabocha squash soup in the stockpot. Or process the whole soup (without the shrimps and pork) in a food processor for one minute till smooth.
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Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
Did you like this recipe? I have more classic recipes inspired by my late mother’s cooking in my popular cookbook: My Mother’s Philippine Recipes. If you’re learning how to cook Filipino food or a fan of Philippine cuisine, buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
Hello, Friends! Please DO NOT LIFT OR PLAGIARIZE my original recipe, stories, photos or videos. All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos, essays, stories and recipe content on your websites, books, films, television shows, videos, without my permission. If you wish to republish this recipe or content on media outlets mentioned above, please ASK MY PERMISSION, or re-write it in your own words and link back to my blog AsianInAmericaMag.com to give proper attribution. It is the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]