vietnamese kabocha squash soup

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it's cute because every time i make something for my dad, he makes it for me the next time i see him.  first it was banh bao, then banh cuon, toasted chicken and rice soup and then kabocha squash soup.

this soup is so amazing actually.  the color of the squash comes out into the chicken broth, giving it a rich orange color.  it looks and tastes like it should cure something.  the meatballs filled with shiitake mushrooms and bean thread noodles are juicy and the squash is a sweet contrast to the fish sauce and spicy thai chili dipping sauce.  the scallions on top of the soup gives a nice crunch and finishing touch that's just amazingly flavorful and simple.

don't be tempted to use another type of squash.  i almost used acorn squash, but that would have been a mistake.  kabocha is sweet, creamy and not watery at all.

bust out:

  • 1 large stock pot
  • cutting board, chefs knife and paring knife
  • small bowl to soak bean thread noodles
  • medium bowl to mix meatballs
  • medium bowl to soak dried shiitakes
  • fork
  • 2 small spoons

vietnamese kabocha squash soup

serves 8

1 lb ground turkey

12 dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated in hot water for 30 mins (4 diced and 8 halved)

1 bundle bean thread noodles, soaked in cold water for 15 mins and chopped small

dash of white pepper

1 1/2 t fish sauce

1 quart chicken stock (not unsalted)

3 quarts water

1 kabocha squash, quartered, deseeded, roasted on a pan with some water for 15 mins at 425 F

1 lb shrimp

fish sauce, to taste

2 scallions chopped

some cilantro

cracked black pepper

a couple thai chilies

1) mix ground turkey, diced shiitakes, bean thread noodles, white pepper and fish sauce.  mix with a fork until very very mixed.  the more you mix it the better because it will make the meatball chewy and delicious.

2) pour the chicken broth and water into the large stock pot and bring it to a boil.  once water is boiling, drop turkey meat in quenelles using two spoons into the soup.  they will float after a few seconds.  while meatballs are cooking prep squash.

3) peel skin off squash (or not the skin is good for you and delicious too but gives soup a greener color).  dice into 1 1/2" dice.  drop into the soup with the shrimp and halved mushrooms.  soup is ready to serve when shrimp is cooked!  taste and add fish sauce to taste to the soup.

4) top with chopped scallions, cilantro and a good amount of cracked black pepper!  serve with jasmine rice and a small bowl of fish sauce and chopped thai chilies.

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