AS SALAM ALAIKUM, this recipe originally appeared in my first book ” Heavenly Bites, the best of Muslim Home Cooking” published by Kube Publishers UK.
Since then I have revised it to what is it right now, alhmdulilah.
I have just come down with some weird flu thing, headache stomach ache, you know the sort of thing when the weather keeping changing so an Indian revert sister recommended me ginger and lemon grass tea. Indian culture has a lot to offer in terms of natural medicine that’s halal.
With an abundance of fresh lemongrass in my house something needed to be created. Sometime when we have flu, cutting out meat products for a few days does the stomach the world of good and not compensating by overdosing on the diary, so soups, salads and smoothies are perfect way to get nutrients and minerals.
Soups are comforting and squash, part of the pumpkin, melon, cucumber family, one of the favourite foods of the prophet salahlahu alaiyhi wa salem, he used to eat it with dates. Squash is cold and dry and relieves the heat of an inflamed stomach, its high in fibre so good for the heart and is also high in potassium and vit C. Its coldness is harmful to one part of the stomach so it should be eaten with something like ginger zanjabil, that is moist in first degree and hot in the second. Ginger aids the digestion and is also good for the liver; it’s an aphrodisiac and should be eaten with caution by single persons who are not ill.
The lemon grass and coconut give this soup that exotic oriental taste that would make a great starter for an oriental main course like biriani, chicken satay, noodles and even African jolloffe rice. It’s also very quick to make, approximate 30 minutes all in.
1 Medium size squash
3 medium size sweet potatoes or ordinary potatoes
3-7 cloves of garlic
3-5 cm piece of fresh ginger
1 fresh lemon grass stick
1 cup of celery parsley or coriander and parsley
1 tbsp olive oil
1 veggie stock cube (optional)
10-20 grammes coconut cream in block or a carton of coconut cream
5 cups of boiling water and more to top up as you go along
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 teaspoons black pepper
1-3 teaspoons tumeric (haldi)
1-3 teaspoons dry ground cumin seeds
1-3 1-3 teaspoons dry grounf ajwain seeds
Wash the squash chop into large pieces, 5cm, and set aside
- Wash peel and chop onions finely or use mini chopper
- Peel and crush garlic, ginger, lemon grass and herbs and set aside to oxidise in a good way
- Wash peel and chop potatoes
- Place 1 tbsp of margarine or butter or vegetable oil on medium heat in large saucepan and let it melt
- Add the onions, garlic, ginger and lemon grass and gently fry till yellow golden, if your onions do get a bit brown don’t worry, it will be alright inshallah.
- add the spices ; tumeric , cumin , black pepper and salt.
- Add the chopped squash ,put everything the seeds, flesh and peel into the pot and potatoes
- Put the kettle on and boil, put the stock cube and coconut cream block in heat proof glass jug and add 3 cups of boiling water and dissolve, when dissolved add to potatoes and squash and add another 3 cups of water so that veggies are neatly covered
- Turn up the heat and bring to boil for 5 minutes then turn heat down low , cover the pot with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes
- Add the freshly cut herb and turn heat off and cover.
- leave so cool before blending with hand held blender or in smoothie maker or jug blender
- Using a small mug or jug put cooled soup into processor and blitz for a few seconds till soup has smoother texture
- Return to pot and reheat before serving
- At the re-heating stage i would add some fresh washed top and tailed okra and cook for 15 minutes in the soup but you could fry some onions and green chilli in a separate frying pan and add on top of the soup before serving like Bengali dhal soup. The possibilities are endless but there is soup to be eaten…hmmmm
When I first published this recipe I received this great commnet from Chef Yusuf,
“Sister… thank you for the delicious recipe ,, I want to add that this soup is one of the mentioned foods that the prophet pbuh used to like , as Narrated by Anas: I saw the Prophet being served with soup and containing gourd (pumpkin or squash) and cured meat, and I saw him picking and eating the pieces of gourd. [Bukhari Volume 7, Book 65, Number 348] Jaber bin Tareq said “I went to the Prophet (pbuh) in his home and he had Aldaba’a. I said, what is this? He said this gourd, which is Aldeba’s we increase our Eats (or food) with it.” [Al-albani 2400] “The Holy Prophet (phbh), amongst all other foods, liked pumpkin.” [Tirmidhi, Shamail-e-Tirmizi, Kitab Bhavan Publication, New Delhi, 1997, p.137 keep on the good work Chef Yusuf cooking the Islamic way”