Asian-inspired coconut-chili butternut squash soup

Coconut chili butternut squash soup recipeToday I am excited to present you the first of my posts in partnership with McCormick Spices on the occasion of the launch of their Flavor Forecast 2012.  What is the Flavor Forecast? “The Flavor Forecast has been a leader in identifying emerging culinary trends that inspire a passion for flavor for over a decade. New this year, our global forecast pinpoints the forces that will drive culinary innovation around the world in the coming years.”   The report is compiled by chefs, sensory scientists, trend trackers, marketing experts and food technologists from around the world.  This year, to launch the Forecast, McCormick invited a group of bloggers to participate in a webinar with Chef Mark Garcia who presented the six culinary trends of this year’s report: Honoring Roots,Quest for the Ultimate,Veggies in Vogue, Simplicity Shines, Flavorful Swaps, andNo Boundaries. Each trend is brought to life through 12 regional flavor combinations and taste experiences.

Apart from being an opportunity to flex my creative muscles in the kitchen, I am grateful because it provided me the much needed push to finally organise my spice rack 😉

As soon as I saw the list of flavours and combinations listed in the report, I honed in on a few right away.  I love the idea of Asian flavours when it’s so cold so I was torn between “Honoring Roots” (using foundational flavours, like coriander for Asian cuisine) and “Veggies in Vogue” (where they spice up squash with pancetta and red curry).  In the end I took the coconut from the “Simplicity Shines” trend, and mixed it with cumin and coriander in a spicy soup, taking my own approach to the Flavor Forecast flavors to create an original recipe.

Since the weather has finally decided it’s winter, it’s most definitely soup time. One of my favourite soups to make is a butternut squash soup but sometimes it can be a little on the bland side. I knew that cumin, coriander, crushed red pepper flakes and coconut milk would make for a creamy-with-a-kick bowl of goodness.  A little Asian inspiration, if you will.  The toasted sesame seeds (honestly, I didn’t even know you could buy these, I always toast my own but hey, pretty handy!) would make a perfect garnish!

I started out roasting the butternut squash in the oven for about an hour. I rubbed it over with olive oil, salt, pepper, and ground cumin and coriander.  This really helped give the squash a good flavour even before it’s in the soup pot – meaning it cuts down on the actual cooking time of the soup.  Throw the squash in the oven and go about your business. Your house will be filled with delicious smells 🙂

After your squash is cooked and cooled, you’re set to make your soup.  Because the squash is cooked already, it’s a cinch to whip this up in about 1/2 an hour.

Yield: 4-6

Coconut-chili butternut squash soup

Coconut-chili butternut squash soup recipe

An Asian twist on butternut squash soup - creamy with a little bit of kick!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Inactive Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes


  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 250 mls (1 cup) chicken stock
  • 250 mls (1 cup) coconut milk
  • toasted sesame seeds, to garnish
  • crushed red pepper flakes, to garnish
  • finely sliced green onions, to garnish


  1. Pre-heat oven to 375˚F.
  2. Cut butternut squash in half and scoop out seeds and stringy part.
  3. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of cumin, coriander, salt and pepper on each half, then pour over 1 tablespoon olive oil over each half, rubbing gently to make sure spices are well distributed.
  4. Roast for 60 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven.
  6. Allow to cool and remove flesh from skin by scooping out with a spoon.
  7. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat.
  8. Sautée onions until translucent, about 3 minutes.
  9. Lower heat to medium, add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for a further 3 minutes.
  10. Add the roasted squash and coat thoroughly with the onion/garlic/ pepper flakes mixture.
  11. Add the chicken stock and coconut milk, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.
  12. Once the soup has come to a boil, decrease heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
  13. Purée to smooth with an immersion or regular blender.
  14. Serve with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds, crushed red pepper flakes and finely sliced green onions.

did you make this recipe?

please leave a comment or review on the blog or share a photo and tag me on Instagram @eatlivtravwrite !



Coconut-chili butternut squash soup recipe

*I* loved this soup and was happy that my resident “It could use a little spice” taster enjoyed it too.  The creaminess from the coconut milk offsets the spice from the red pepper flakes (surprisingly powerful considering how little is used) and it makes for a warm bowl of great flavours on a cold winter’s day.

Disclosure: I was provided with compensation as well as a kit of herbs, spices and other ingredients featured in the McCormick Flavour Forecast 2012 in exchange for writing two posts about the Flavor Forecast. All opinions are 100% my own.

37 thoughts on “Asian-inspired coconut-chili butternut squash soup”

  1. Looks and sounds brilliant, I often make a thai curry with butternut squash, it’s a really versatile vegetable. I don’t know why they weren’t more widely available when I was growing up as certainly my mother never cooked them!

  2. Yessir, no pleas for more spice from moi. This was delightfully warming on a cold winter’s day.

    Great with some nice bread to dip into as well.

    Screams for an off-dry Gewurztraminer, or a nice hoppy IPA. (I went with the latter.)

  3. Mmm, that looks so perfectly creamy! I’ve never paired squash and coconut milk, but it looks absolutely delicious. Love all the spices you put in, I bet this is the perfect flavor kick on a cold, dreary day 🙂

  4. we love butternut squash soup too, but most of my favorite recipes include curry and i get a little tired of it around this time of year. this sounds like a great way to change things up – i’d have never thought of making it with an asian twist. can’t wait to try this recipe!

  5. Yummo………always make my pumpkin soup as a Thai version using red curry paste….so will have to give your recipe a try next time round.

    In response to dad’s Adelaide weather forecast… was cold, wet and raining in Caboolture last night and pea and ham soup was on the menu, tho can’t recall having ever eaten soup in the middle of summer before!!

  6. You just created a unique and wonderful variation to a great soup.

    P.S. Love the sound of that Veggies in Vogue spiced up squash with pancetta and red curry!

  7. With the temperatures in the -40s I am so craving this soup! I love that you roast the squash beforehand. Looks delicious

  8. This is great 🙂 Mr Bao loves using different types of spices and it’ll be great to jazz up the good old pumpkin soup ~

  9. Hmm… I just bought a stick blender and a can of light coconut milk and I was thinking about squash soup. Got to do some bookmarking. Thanks Mardi, and Mr. Neil — a nice hoppy IPA sounds good.

  10. I need to try a new butternut squash soup recipe, and I love the addition of coconut and heat to this one. Can’t wait to give it a shot!


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