- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1 tsp. grated ginger
- 2 tbsp. roughly chopped lemongrass (about 2 stalks)
- 1–2 tbsp. roasted chili paste (not curry paste) or Nam Prik Pao**
- 2 1/2 c. butternut squash, peeled + cubed into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1x 14 oz. can of coconut milk
- 2 c. organic chicken or vegetable stock, + more as needed
- 2 tsp. fish sauce
- 1 lime
- 1 c. prepared French lentils*
- olive oil
- salt + pepper
- 1 scallion
- handful of fresh cilantro
- 4 brown rice cakes
- lime wedges
*I use Trader Joe’s steamed lentils. Canned will work too.
** Look for Thai Kitchen brand roasted chili paste or traditional Nam Prik Pao sold in Asian grocery stores.
- In a large, heavy bottom pot warm a splash of olive oil over moderate heat.
- Add the onions, ginger, lemongrass, and 1 tbsp. of chili paste. Saute until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the butternut squash.
- Pour in the coconut milk and just enough stock to cover; start with 1 cup of stock and increase as needed.
- Bring the soup to a gentle boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the squash is tender.
- Ladle 1 cup of the cubed squash (no broth) into a bowl and set aside to add back to the soup later.
- Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender with the lid vented so that the steam can escape. Add more stock if it’s too thick.
- Pour the soup back into the pot and warm over low heat. Taste, add more chili paste (if you prefer), fish sauce, and the juice of 1 lime.
- Add the reserved cubed butternut squash.
- Add the lentils.
- To prepare the garnish, trim the scallion into one 5-inch piece, reserving the white and light green part only. Thinly slice or julienne lengthwise into very thin strands. Plunge into an ice bath. The scallions will begin to curl, about 10 minutes.
- To serve, ladle the soup into bowls. Top each portion with tangled scallions and fresh cilantro. Crumble the rice cakes over the top. Serve with lime wedges on the side.