Squash Soup


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves:


Appears in

Sweet Hands: Island Cooking from Trinidad and Tobago

Sweet Hands

By Ramin Ganeshram

Published 2018

  • About

Coconut milk, hot pepper, and herbs give this popular soup a little tropical kick. If you have a supply of Green Seasoning on hand, you can use that in place of the collected herbs in this recipe—use about 2 tablespoons.

Calabaza, also called West Indian pumpkin, is now more readily available in your standard supermarket, but if you can’t find it you can substitute butternut squash. Cinderella or “cheese” pumpkins are actually the best substitute because of their high sugar content. They are generally available in autumn and can be stored in a cool dry place right through the winter. Alternatively, if using them for purees or soup, I peel and cut the pumpkin into large chunks and freeze in individual zip-top bags of about one pound each.


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 cups chopped calabaza, pumpkin, butternut squash, or acorn squash
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ½ teaspoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ¼ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Chopped chives (optional)


  1. Heat the oil in a 4-quart saucepan and add the calabaza, tossing to coat. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then add the onion and garlic. Cover and sweat the vegetables for about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the stock, bay leaf, thyme, oregano, parsley, cilantro, and salt. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes; then remove the lid and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes more, or until the calabaza is fork tender.
  3. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Remove the vegetables and herbs from the soup with a slotted spoon and place in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Return the puree to the pot and add the sugar and coconut milk and mix well.
  4. Simmer the soup uncovered for 5 minutes, or until reduced by one-quarter. Add the pepper sauce and simmer for 2 minutes more. Serve hot, garnished with a dollop of sour cream and some chives.