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Kabocha Squash Coconut Soup (Thai Food)

Kabocha Squash Coconut Soup (Faktong Gaeng Buad) Recipe - I often feel that Thai desserts are either a weekend project or a snap. This one is definitely a snap. Rest assured, however, that it is as delicious as it is simple, particularly if you are a squash fan. There is a whole category of Thai desserts that simply involves boiling or simmering an ingredient—fruits, grains, beans, or root vegetables—in a light syrup. If this syrup happens to be made of coconut milk rather than water, such as this one, we call the cooking technique buad.

Serves: 4–5
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Do-ahead Tips: Cut the squash in advance and store in the fridge. The entire dish can be made in advance and reheated at serving time.
Faktong = Kabocha squash; Gaeng buad = Suffix for items cooked by boiling or simmering in sweetened coconut milk
Kabocha Squash Coconut Soup Recipe

Ingredients

  • 14 oz Kabocha squash, bite-size pieces
  • ½ cup Water
  • 1 ¼ cup Coconut milk
  • ½ cup Palm sugar, finely chopped, packed
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ½ Pandan leaf (9 inches, optional)

How to make Kabocha Squash Coconut Soup

  1. Wash and dry the squash thoroughly. Cut it in half vertically and scoop out the seeds with a spoon, scraping off as much of the fibrous bits as possible. If the skin has blemishes, slice them off; otherwise, leave the skin on. Cut one half into ¾-inch wedges, then cut each wedge into small, bite-sized pieces, about ½-inch thick. Make sure the pieces are about the same size so they finish cooking at the same time. Save leftover squash for another recipe (see QR code below).
  2. In a pot large enough to hold the squash, combine the water, coconut milk, sugar, salt, and pandan leaf, if using; stir over medium-high heat until the coconut milk is simmering and the sugar is mostly dissolved. Add the squash and turn the heat down to medium. Cook the squash at a gentle simmer until it is done but still firm, about 5–8 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces.
  3. To determine doneness, insert a fork into the squash. It should go through with slight resistance. Remove from the heat and let the squash sit in the pot, covered, for another 10 minutes; the residual heat will keep the squash cooking a little bit more. Test for doneness again after 10 minutes. The squash should have no resistance when pierced with a fork.
  4. This dish is best served warm, but it’s also fine at room temperature. If possible, let the squash sit in the syrup for a few hours before serving to allow more flavour to be absorbed.

Tip for Success: It’s easy to forget about a simmering pot, so if you discover that you have overcooked the squash, immediately drain it from the syrup to cool it down and stop it from further cooking. Recombine once cooled.
DID YOU SAY … LEAVE THE SKIN ON?
Yes, kabocha squash skin becomes soft and perfectly edible when cooked. It’s more attractive with the skin on—the dark green contrasts with the bright orange flesh, not to mention it’s more nutritious and less work! If you’re wondering what to do with any leftover squash, check out my video for a quick and healthy stir-fry of kabocha squash and Thai basil