Tasty Tuesday, January 13

This one means another trip to that stinky Asian market on the other side of town. (Btw, the smell is not from spoiled food, it is a combination of some of the herbs and seasonings they use combined with shrimp flavored everything.)
Looking for a hot soup for a cold and rainy day, I perused the usual cookbooks, nothing sounded interesting. I broke out the Asian cookbooks and found this that sounded interesting.

Northern Prawn and Squash Soup
This comes from Northern Thailand

1 butternut squash (I got what was called “pumpkin” at Cho Saigon Market. Apparently, they call any large, yellow flesh winter squash “pumpkin” and next time I cook this, I am SO going to get the pre-cut butternut squash cubes. If you have ever tried to peel and chop a winter squash, you know what I mean.)
4 cups vegetable stock.
1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 3/4 oz dried banana flower (I never found this, it turned out good anyway)
1/2 lb raw medium shrimp (prawns), peeled
1 Tbl fish sauce
Small bunch fresh basil
Cooked rice, to serve

Chilli paste:
4 oz scallions, sliced
10 drained bottled green peppercorns (I didn’t find this one either, I substituted 1 tsp capers for the tart and briny and some black peppercorns, cracked, for the peppery)
1/2 tsp serrano or 2-3 Thai peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 tsp shrimp paste

Peel the squash and cut in half. Scoop out the seeds and discard then cut into cubes.
Make the chilli paste by pounding the ingredients together in a mortar and pestle or in a micro food processor.
Heat the stock in a large pot and stir in the chilli paste. Add the squash, beans and banana flower. Bring to the boil and cook for 15 minutes.
Add the fish sauce, shrimp (prawns) and basil. Bring back to simmering and cook for 3 minutes. Serve in warm bowls, accompanied by rice.
This serves 4. Depending on how much rice you add, it can be stretched a bit further.

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