It may still be in the mid 80’s here in sunny South Florida, but that does not mean I am immune to the charms of fall. And my Kabocha Soup is all of your sweater weather, cozy nights in, warm baking smells wafting through the house, dreams come true. It’s an unabashedly sweet soup filled with squash and apples, but the sweetness is tempered with a little onion and curry spice to keep it from venturing into dessert territory. It’s a perfect starter for a holiday meal, or a healthy bite before trick or treating. I love leftovers for lunch the next day; this is a soup that holds well and is just as delicious at room temperature. So put on your favorite fall sweater and let’s go!
Also known as Japanese pumpkin, kabocha squash has a sweeter flavor and lusher texture than pumpkin. If you love the flavor of pumpkin, but wish it were less watery, more creamy, and a little more sweet, then you need to try Kabocha-which is like the best version of pumpkin! The skin is relatively thin, and can be peeled off with a sharp knife. I prefer to take off the skin so that my soup has a nice golden color. You can of course leave the skin on and save yourself the hassle, but know that your soup will not be as silky and you’ll end up with a not so appetizing color as a result.
As with any large, dense vegetable, use a lot of care when preparing the kabocha. Put a damp kitchen towel underneath to help stabilize the vegetable. If it’s too difficult to cut on top of the counter, try cutting on the floor, where you will get better leverage and more power to cut through the dense flesh. Also, I carefully dig out the stem first. The divot under the stem is pretty soft. I put my knife tip into that divot and then bring the knife down. Then I turn the kobocha around and do the same on the other side. If you can’t get the knife all the way through, gently ease the knife out, and then put both thumbs into the seam and pry the two halves apart with your hands.
Then it’s time to prep the apples. There’s so much variety available this time of year, so go with what you like. Just not tart green ones, we want a sweet variety. Fuji, gala, and golden delicious are all good options.
Once all the ingredients are prepped, it’s time to cook. I like to use my dutch oven for this, but any heavy bottomed large pot will work.
For this Kabocha Soup I like to use a sweet curry powder. That lends the sweetness and warmth of cloves, coriander, nutmeg, and ginger without the heat of some curries.
Once it comes to a simmer, lower the heat and cover the pot. Cook for 20-25 minutes, until the kabocha is very soft and breaks apart with a fork.
If the soup is a little thicker than you would like, thin it out with water. I love to serve this with Wild Mushroom Salad for a meatless menu that celebrates fall. Even if I’m still in a tank top… Make Kabocha Soup this week and let me know what you think! Rate or comment on the recipe below, and don’t forget to tag us in your photos @funkyasiankitchen.
- 1 ½ pounds kabocha or butternut squash
- 2 medium apples (anything sweet, not granny smith)
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter*
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons peeled and chopped ginger (about 1 inch piece)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon sweet curry powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 cups apple juice
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Carefully peel and seed the kabocha pumpkin. Cut the pumpkin into 1 inch pieces and set aside.
- Peel and core the apples. Dice into 1 inch pieces and set aside.
- Heat a dutch oven over medium heat for several minutes. Add the butter and the onions. Cook the onions for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally until soft and translucent. (You do not want to brown the onions).
- Add the curry powder, ginger, garlic, and bay leaves stir into the onions, cooking for another minute.
- Add the apples, kabocha, apple juice, salt, pepper, and honey. Raise the heat to high and bring to a simmer.
- Cover with a lid and lower the heat to medium. Cook for 20-25 minutes until the kabocha is very soft.
- Remove the bay leaves and blend the soup with an immersion blender. (You can also blend in a traditional blender but do not fill more than ½ full and be very careful. Remove the center feed cover and cover with a kitchen towel. Pulse a couple times first and then blend until completely smooth.)
- Adjust the thickness with the cup of water as needed and adjust seasonings to taste with a little salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately.
*use a plant based butter to make it vegan
Keywords: kabocha, pumpkin spice, fall soup, soup, curry, apple