Spicy vegetable soups are a delight to eat, especially at this time of the year with the wet and dreary weather sweeping the UK. Good comfort food, a generous bowlful of this type of soup is almost a meal in itself when served with some home-made bread, spread liberally with butter.
For a change I decided to make some prawn dumplings as an accompaniment, which worked a treat: light, sticky and packed with flavour these give an extra dimension to the soup. The dumplings can be served as they are once cooked, just floating on the soup, but for added texture you can shallow fry the cooked dumplings in a little hot oil until they go golden brown – the insides will still retain that lovely pillow-like texture.
Even though there are prawns in the dumplings I prefer to use a chicken or vegetable stock for the soup itself; using fish stock does make the soup too fishy which I want to avoid here.
- 1 butternut squash, sliced in half lengthways
- 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 small red chilli, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1 tin coconut milk
- approx. 700g good quality chicken or vegetable stock
- vegetable oil
- salt and pepper
- handful fresh coriander, including stalks – plus some leaves for garnish
- 80g self-raising flour
- 40g suet
- 100g raw prawns, peeled and de-veined
- approx. 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 1 small red chilli, finely chopped
- 1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- juice of half a lime
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- handful fresh coriander (leaves and stalks), chopped
- Rub the squash with a little oil and seasoning. Roast for an hour or so at 190C (fan) until soft. Cool and scoop out the flesh.
- Meanwhile mix the dumpling ingredients – apart from the flour and suet – in a bowl. Leave to marinade.
- Heat a tablespoon or so of oil in a large pan, add the onions, garlic, ginger and chilli and sweat gently for about 10 minutes. Add the squash flesh, coriander, coconut milk and stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Mix the flour and suet together. Add the prawn mixture with some of its juice. Add enough cold water to bind and mix to give a slightly sticky dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and split into 12 pieces, rolling each into a smooth ball. Add to the soup, cover with a lid and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the dumplings have well risen and are light and aerated.
- Remove the dumplings and transfer a plate. Purée the soup, ladle into bowls and add 3 dumplings to each bowl. Sprinkle over some chopped coriander and serve.