Lockdown Recipe of the Day: Lightly Curried Butternut Soup

Lockdown Recipe of the Day: Lightly Curried Butternut Soup
Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash

This is a generic recipe for a spicy butternut soup. Add or subtract, or substitute, to suit your palate and what’s available.

Butternut makes a great soup – there’s hardly a South African who doesn’t know that. In my kitchen repertoire, butternut soup is ripe for a curry treatment. I start by braising onions, garlic and spices, just as I do for a mutton curry; then I build it up into a butternut soup.


1 large butternut, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped

2 Tbs ghee or butter

1 large onion, diced

2 fat cloves garlic, finely diced

2cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

2cm piece of fresh turmeric, grated, if you can get it, OR 1 heaped tsp ground turmeric

1 cinnamon stick

1 star anise

2 bay leaves

1 Tbs masala (or curry mix of your choice)

Pinch of saffron

Juice and grated zest (NO pith) of one orange

500ml vegetable (or chicken) stock

100ml fresh cream

Salt and pepper to taste

Yoghurt, a swirl of, to finish (there’s enough cream in the soup, don’t over-do it)

Coriander leaves, chopped, to garnish


Melt butter or ghee and add the cinnamon stick, bay leaves and star anise, stir over heat for a minute, then add the onions, ginger, garlic (and fresh turmeric if you have it) and sauté till translucent. Add the masala and stir well over a low heat for a minute. Add the butternut chunks and cook over medium heat for five minutes, stirring to coat and for the flavours to develop. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the stock, bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Squeeze (through a sieve) the orange juice in, and add the grated zest. Cook until the butternut is very soft.

Remove the cinnamon stick, bay leaves and star anise. Blend the soup until beautifully smooth. Add the cream and pinch of saffron and bring to a simmer while stirring.

Serve hot with a swirl of plain yoghurt and a garnish of chopped coriander, just as you would a mutton curry.

TGIFood Tip: The basic soup (that is, the quantities of onion, garlic, butternut, stock) can be adapted to the use of all manner of other flavourings that you like, whether spices or herbs. DM/TGIFood

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