Creamy Butternut Tom Kha

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It’s an “unusually vigorous” flu season, according to the Dallas Morning News.  And there’s certainly some coughing crud passing through my social circles in Denver.

Everyone I know has their own plan to avoid getting sick.  Many folks have gotten the flu shot.  Others pound supplements or herbal medicines.

My dog Tour seems to take the approach of getting enough rest.  In the sunniest part of the house.  For hours.

Now that I think about it, he’s not sick. Perhaps he is on to something...

Now that I think about it, he’s not sick. Perhaps he is on to something…

My de facto wellness plan involves crossing my fingers, knocking on wood and eating good food.

I think this soup is a magic wellness potion.  When I eat it, it feels like I am slurping down nourishment.  The chicken broth, fresh ginger, garlic and lemongrass combine into a bowl of golden health. The butternut squash gives a burst of vitamins.

Tom kha is a traditional Thai soup.  Thai cooking isn’t something I am skilled with, so I want to give a out shout out to all those who assisted and influenced me in creating this recipe.

  1. My friend, L.B.  She worked with me on the first batch, chopping and mixing with confidence that rubbed off on me.  (Since she is a vegetarian, we also made a vegetarian version of this, which I will link to later in the week.)
  2. This recipe from Flip  This is the recipe we started off with.  I’ve changed it up a bit to suit my tastes, but wanted to give credit to this cute blog.
  3. Linger.   I wrote about how my last trip to this hip restaurant inspired my mashed plantains and crispy Brussels sprouts.  They also had a tom kha on the menu that included a heavy dose of butternut squash.

There seem to be at least 117 ways to make tom kha.  You can add mushrooms, toss in onions, add more squash, take out the squash, throw in cooked chicken, toss in shrimp, garnish with scallions, top with cilantro, serve with carrots, cabbage or peppers.   Honestly, every option sounds delicious.  I might just try them all until I find just the magic combination I need to stay healthy this winter.

Creamy Butternut Tom Kha

Chicken broth, 4 cups

Lemongrass, 1 stalk (about 5 inches), minced

Garlic, 3 cloves

Ginger, 1 ½-2 tablespoons minced

Thai peppers, 1-2, minced

Butternut squash, peeled and cubed, 1 ½ cups

Coconut milk, 1 14-oz can

Fresh lime juice, ½ lime

Fish sauce, 2 tablespoons

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional:  Cooked chicken, fresh cilantro, etc.

  1. Bring broth to simmer over medium heat.
  2. Add lemongrass, garlic, ginger, thai peppers and squash.
  3. Let simmer uncovered for 40 minutes, until squash is soft.
  4. Add coconut milk, lime juice and fish sauce.
  5. Puree soup until smooth, using hand blender or food processor.  Reheat if needed
  6. Add chicken and/or garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired.  Or add other veggies. Or don’t.  Whatever.  Just stay healthy.

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