Tag Archives: soup

Asian Sesame Sweet Potato & Squash Soup

Sweet Potato Squash Soup

Asian Sesame Sweet Potato & Squash Soup

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that as we grow older, eating becomes more tiring?  First world problems I know but whew!  After this past weekend I still feel like I’m in a food coma.  In general, I eat pretty healthy throughout the year so I think my body just shuts down when affronted with so much fat and sugar.  I love pigging out over the holidays, but I was really craving something healthy.  This Japanese-inspired Asian Sesame Sweet Potato Squash Soup was just what I needed after an overly indulgent weekend.

Over the years I’ve made every variation of sweet potato and squash: roasted, mashed, baked.   This holiday season, I really wanted to try something new.  Butternut squash soup is popular, but I decided to add sweet potato, to bring out the sweetness of the squash.  I had to keep this soup dairy free, so I used a bit of miso instead of cream for a richer taste.  Building on this Asian-inspired flavour, I included some mirin (sweet cooking wine) to add acidity to the dish.  For the garnish I topped with toasted sesame seeds and nori (dried seaweed) for a bit of salty crunch.

Asian Sesame Sweet Potato & Squash Soup

Asian Sesame Sweet Potato & Squash Soup

Festive and easy to prepare, I loved this healthy, hearty soup on a cold, winter’s night.  The nori, mirin and miso can be found in the Asian aisle of a big chain supermarket, or at any Asian grocery store.  If you don’t want to buy a whole bottle of mirin, you can substitute for sake and keep on drinking this holiday season!

Asian Sesame Sweet Potato & Squash Soup

51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Asian Sesame Sweet Potato & Squash Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1" piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and diced
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • ¼ cup mirin (sweet cooking wine)
  • 2 tbsp light miso paste
  • 5 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 6 snack size sheets of nori (dried seaweed)
  • 3 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat sesame oil in a large pot or saute pan on medium-high heat. Saute onion, garlic and ginger until softened, about 2 minutes. Add squash and sweet potato and sauté 1 minute longer.
  2. Whisk together mirin and miso paste. Add to vegetables along with chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer uncovered for 20-25 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.
  3. Using an immersion blender or food processor, puree soup until smooth. Return to pot and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Lightly toast the sesame seeds in a toaster oven or in a small pan on the stove top over low heat.
  5. Serve and top with toasted sesame seeds and pieces of nori.
http://iseehungrypeople.net/2016/11/14/asian-sesame-sweet-potato-squash-soup/

Sweet Potato Squash Soup

Asian Sesame Sweet Potato Squash Soup

What is your favourite holiday soup?  Let me know if you enjoyed the Asian flavours in this Sweet Potato Squash Soup!

Restaurant Review: Lalibela – Alienating Service Overshadows Fresh Food

Ethiopian
Rating: *** out of 5

Despite being a foodie in multicultural T.O, I have never experienced Ethiopian food cuisine.  Named after one of Ethiopia’s holiest cities, Lalibela is a small, cozy restaurant nestled between Christie and Ossington on Bloor.  We are seated immediately amid the bright, gaudy Middle Eastern décor and the pastel murals covering the walls.

The menu is extensive – mostly unrecognizable to us except for some Western staples – spaghetti and burgers.  I order the only starter available: lentil soup ($4.50).  The hearty homemade soup of brown lentils, hot peppers and crispy carrots warms the soul on this chilly night.

Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup

Our waitress recommends that we split the Meat Combination ($23 for two) and the vegetarian Lalibela ($14) platters.  However, when they arrive the lights dim suddenly and we squint to see our food.
Both assemblies are served on one tray – which might have been a problem for vegetarians.  Each item is laid out like a huge painter’s palette on top of fresh injera – a slightly sour pancake-like flatbread used to scoop up the other elements.
Through the dim light, we dive in blindly and start scooping.  The interesting combination of well balanced textures and tastes ranges from spicy to sour.  The platter consists of key wot, a tender lamb stew in a red lentil sauce, and  doro wat, a sweet-and-spicy, fall-off-the-bone chicken dish reminiscent of Chicken Vindaloo—the latter of which is the  first to be polished off.  The assortment of split peas and red and green lentils provides a nice break for the palette, while crunchy cabbage and gomen (shredded collard greens), add a sour kick to the mix.  A simple, crisp and refreshing garden salad tumbles from the centre of the platter.

Meat Combination & Lalibela Platter

Meat Combination & Lalibela Platter

We enquire about two unfamiliar dishes, and I discover that the stuffing-like dish I’m enjoying seasoned with sage and thyme, is dullet – a combination of ground lamb, tripe, green chile and onion.  Also, a cold, lightly spiced and chewy mixture is called kitfo – minced raw beef, a sort of Ethiopian steak tartare, and despite my claim that “I will eat anything!,” this raw surprise is a little off-putting.

For five minutes we try to flag down a waitress bustling in the back of the restaurant.  I order Baklava for dessert, but the waitress has to check if it’s available and never follows up.  When we ask for change, she says they can’t break a bill.  It’s a pity that poor service and dim lighting spoil our first Ethiopian meal of fresh and well presented plates.
869 Bloor Street West – east of Ossington.  Toronto, Canada  T: 416-535-6615; Open everyday from 10AM to 2AM