Lutik (Spiced Squash & Sweet Potato in Coconut Milk)

In a bid to make vegetables more interesting, I have tapped into my roots for some inspiration.¬† (For those who do not know, I come from the Philippines – Baz.) ūüėÄ

One of my favourites is called lutik, a simple dish of squash in coconut milk. The type of squash normally used is the green-skinned variety, but I reckoned butternut squash will do as well.  This would also make a good paleo dish.  I added a bit of sweet potato for a novel twist, and used dried little shrimp instead of guinamos (shrimp paste Рgoogle it!). Here is a list of what I used:

Butternut squash, skinned and cubed, about 1.5 kg
Sweet potato, skinned and cubed, fist-size
Coconut milk, 400mL
2 big handsful of dried little shrimps (from any Oriental shop)
Garlic, 6 cloves, minced
Shallots, 6 bulbs, sliced
Cumin, half a teaspoon
Cayenne pepper and Salt, to taste

Sweat the shallots in a little oil until just transparent, then add the garlic and cook for about a minute.  Add the shrimp, and cook some more until they brown just a bit. Dunk the veggies in and about half a glass of water.  Bring to boil, cover. and let it simmer.

When the squash and potato have just about softened, pour in the coconut milk.  Stir and let simmer until only about half of the liquid remains. Season with cumin, pepper and salt. Taste and re-adjust until you get the right balance.  This will taste a little bit sweet, because of the sweet potato and the other natural sugars in the squash and coco milk.

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If you cannot find the dried little shrimps, you can use normal prawns but add them at the very last minute when you are nearly ready to serve; otherwise they will turn rubbery. And if you love it spicier, add one dried chilli at the simmering stage. Or add some baby spinach leaves near the end to up the vitamin content. Blitz it for a nice hearty soup. Enjoy!