Squash laksa soup

“Spice and heat work so well in a butternut squash soup – I'm loving this Malaysian-style twist ”

Ingredients :
1 butternut squash
1 dried red chilli
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
2-3 fresh red chillies , deseeded
3 cloves garlic
1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger , peeled
1 large bunch fresh coriander , leaves picked, stalks reserved
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 limes , zested and halved
2 tablespoons fish sauce
800 ml unsweetened light coconut milk
300 ml organic chicken stock
200 g rice noodles
1 red chilli , deseeded and sliced, optional
cress , to serve, optional

Method :
Spice things up with this delicious Malay dish.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Halve the squash, deseed, then cut into 8 slices or chunks (skin on) and put into a roasting tray. Bash up the dried chilli and a pinch of salt in a pestle and mortar. Sprinkle over the squash, drizzle with olive oil and bake for 40 minutes.
Finely chop or whiz the chillies, garlic, ginger and coriander stalks in a food processor. Add the sesame oil, lime juice, zest and fish sauce and whiz to a thin paste.
Heat a large pan or wok. Pour in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and quickly stir in the paste. Cook for about a minute before adding the coconut milk and chicken stock.
Turn the heat down and simmer for about 15 minutes. Taste – you may need to add fish sauce, lime juice or a bit of salt and pepper.
Add the noodles to the soup, simmer for a few minutes, then divide between 4 bowls. Break over 2 pieces of squash. If you like, top with sliced red chilli and cress.
Tip: For a quick fix, use a good laksa paste instead of making your own.