A coconut and vegetable vegan soup that is easy to make with wonderfully fragrant flavours.
4 tbsp coconut oil
thumb-size piece fresh root ginger (about 50g/1¾oz), or to taste, peeled and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1–2 small green chillies, or to taste, stems removed
4 spring onions, roughly chopped
small bunch fresh coriander
few sprigs fresh mint
1 heaped tsp ground turmeric
15 green peppercorns (fresh or brined)
2 x 400ml tins coconut milk
2 limes, juice only
1 tbsp vegetable stock powder or ½ vegetable stock cube
1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 lemongrass stalk
½ butternut squash, peeled and thinly sliced
100g/3½oz spinach or winter greens, shredded
100g/3½oz wholemeal rice noodles
1 tbsp honey (optional)
Warm the coconut oil in a small pan over a low heat until melted.
Put the ginger, garlic and chillies into a food processor with the spring onions, almost all of the coriander and mint. Reserve some of the herbs to garnish. Add the melted coconut oil, then blend for 30 seconds, or until you have a smooth, deep green paste.
Put a deep, medium-sized pan over a moderate heat and add the herb and spice paste, stirring it for a minute while it warms. Stir in the turmeric, peppercorns, coconut milk, the juice of one of the limes, vegetable stock powder (or cube) and the tamari or soy sauce.
Fill one and a half coconut tins with hot water and add it to the pan (careful, the tin might get hot). Use a rolling pin or pestle to smash the lemongrass so it splinters but remains together, then put in the pan. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Add the butternut squash.
Put the noodles into a heatproof bowl and pour just over enough of the boiling water from the kettle to cover them.
Once the squash is cooked through, add the greens to the broth and simmer. Check the seasoning, adding honey if it needs some sweetness and more lime and salt as needed.
Drain the noodles and divide between four deep soup bowls. Ladle over the soup and vegetables, adding a generous squeeze of lime juice. Garnish with the remaining coriander and mint leaves, if you like.