28/09/2015 13:41 BST | Updated 29/09/2016 06:12 BST

Thai Spiced Sweet Potato, Squash and Coconut Soup


Image by Holly Bell

Location is everything. Phil and Kirsty know what they're talking about. When we booked our mini break in Madrid (sorry, but I can never write 'mini break' without thinking of Bridget Jones) we were wowed by the star rating, roof top bar, architect designed rooms and the possibility of free chocolates. And where did such a vanity booking get us? In the arse end of town.

And we walked too much. Walked all day, desperate to fit it all in save we miss something, so of course we were tired and by evening pretty much exhausted into silence. Imagine! Too tired to speak! (Rarely happens to me). But like two tired toddlers we refused to retire. Oh no, we stayed up as late as late can be, desperate to fit one last experience in. And so we were tired the next day. And so on.

Madrid was littered with rookie mini break errors. We have just booked Rome. Rome will be different. We will ace Rome. And until Rome I will mostly be eating this soup. Because I really want to look slim and chic in Rome and I reckon this is a delicious way to get there.

Lots of great recipes like this in my books, Recipes from a Normal Mum, (available on Amazon, at The Works, Waterstones, WHSmith, The Book Depository and many smaller outlets) and The Power of Frozen (available exclusively in Iceland stores and through their website).


  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 birds eye chillis, finely chopped
  • 3 lemongrass stalks, whole
  • a thumb of galangal (or ginger if you can't find it), peeled and very finely chopped
  • 3 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (about 330g)
  • 365g peeled and diced butternut squash (about half a medium squash)
  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock (homemade or use a stock cube)
  • 45g creamed coconut (that's the block stuff)

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the chilli, lemongrass stalks, galangal, shallots, onion and garlic. Fry for about 2 minutes until the kitchen is filled with the aroma of frying chilli. Add in the sweet potato and squash, then stir. Pour over the hot stock, stir and leave the soup to simmer for about 20 minutes until the potatoes and squash are cooked through and a knife passes through them easily. Grate the creamed coconut over the top, stir and then leave to simmer for a further 5 minutes before removing the three lemongrass stalks and then blending to a smooth consistency.


  • You can finely chop the lemongrass if you prefer a stronger flavour. I like the taste when lemongrass is more of a seasoning but it's up to you. I would reduce to 1 or 2 stalks if you are leaving them in.
  • If you can't find creamed coconut then you can add the thick cream from a tin of coconut milk (it has usually separated in the tin - keep the coconut milk for another recipe) or simply add the whole tin, milk and all, though the soup will obviously be a little thinner.
  • Galangal is authentic but use ginger if you don't have it. Did you know you can peel ginger with a teaspoon?
  • Shallots can be left out if you don't have them.
  • If you wanted to make this a little more substantial then add some cooked shredded chicken.
  • This freezes really well.

Holly blogs at Recipes from a Normal Mum