Stocks 101: Butternut and Coconut Cream Soup with Veggie Stocks

This is the second workshop organized by the Richmond Food Security Society on Basic Food Skills. This workshop is all about stocks.


I must say that documenting such workshop is the hardest. All I got was the few words on the board. I had to take photos and notes at the same time. Unfortunately, I do not know short hand and have not pickup the texting language. I’m trying my best to share what I learnt.

We learned from Ian, that there are three kinds of stocks, brown stocks, white stocks and veggie stocks. Brown stocks is usually made with veal and chicken bones and it takes a long time to make, something like 12 hours to simmer. So, we are not going to do this. It is usually made in restaurant with shift work.

White stocks is made with chicken bones and veggies like celery, onions, leeks, carrots and herbs.

Veggies stocks is also made with veggies like celery, onions, leeks, carrots and herbs. The ratio of celery, carrot, leek and onion is 1:1:1:2. Leeks can be substituted with onions as it’s expensive.

Herbs which are common for making stocks includes pepper corns, bay leaf and parsley.


It is recommended to use a tall pot to make stocks. Tall and slender pot is recommended to prevent too much evaporation during simmering as the stocks is to be simmered uncovered.



To make veggie stocks, Ian used:

  • two carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, roughly chopped
  • some frozen chopped parsley (leftovers from the previous workshop)
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorn
  • 1 bay leaf (if possible, get some from someone with a Bay Laurel tree, an evergreen tree which has more intense flavour than those store bought one)
  • a small bunch of thymes


  • a stock of lemon grass (to tie to the Thai flavour as Ian will be making a Butternut and Coconut Cream Soup with the veggie stocks). Cut the lemon grass 6 inches from the root, remove the outer husk, trim root off and rough chop.


  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped (without the skin as the skin makes the stocks bitter)
  • 1 leek roughly chopped (use only the white part as the greens will yield a dark stocks, make sure you wash the leek thoroughly as it often has dirts in between the leaves)
  • 1-inch chunk of ginger
  • cold water just enough to cover all the veggies


  • Bring the water to just bubbling, lower heat and let simmer, uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes.


After simmering for 30 to 40 minutes, you’ll get a flavourful clear veggie broth. Strain the stocks.


Ingredients to make the Butternut and Coconut Cream Soup with Veggie Stocks

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 can coconut cream
  • veggie stocks
  • frozen corn (optional)
  • toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)

Source: Ian Lai;  Serves 8


Butternut-Coconut-Cream-Soup-with-Veggie-Stock-9Peel, cut into quarters, remove seeds from the body and cubed. For a puree soup, the smaller the items being chopped, the faster they cooked.Another way to enjoy the body which has been hollowed out is to place garlic and herbs in the cavity and roast the butternut squash cut size down so that it absorbs the flavour during roasting.
Butternut-Coconut-Cream-Soup-with-Veggie-Stock-20Cook the chopped butternut squash with some olive oil and season with salt to taste until tender.
Butternut-Coconut-Cream-Soup-with-Veggie-Stock-10Ian shared with us a tip on choosing coconut cream. The thicker the cream on top, the better the quality.
Butternut-Coconut-Cream-Soup-with-Veggie-Stock-11Add the coconut cream to the butternut squash and cook until it’s heated through. You may substitute the coconut cream with whipping cream.
Butternut-Coconut-Cream-Soup-with-Veggie-Stock-13Roast some corn kennels to add extra texture and flavour to the soup. Ian preferred frozen corn than fresh ones as it’s has less moisture. If you use canned ones, make sure you dry them first.Roast the corns with some olive oil until they start popping before you toss them around. This way the corn will get caramelized.
Butternut-Coconut-Cream-Soup-with-Veggie-Stock-14Puree the butternut squash coconut cream mixture using a blender. When pureeing soup, do not fill more than half of the blender in order to leave some breathing room on top. Start on low.
Butternut-Coconut-Cream-Soup-with-Veggie-Stock-15Ian demonstrated a thickness test to us. If you place a dollop of the puree in a bowl follow by a drop of the puree on top of the dollop and the drop sits on dollop, it’s too thick. This is the consistency of baby food.
Butternut-Coconut-Cream-Soup-with-Veggie-Stock-17Someone brought up the question of whether an immersion blender can be used for pureeing soup, Ian replied that immersion blender will not yield a silky smooth soup.At this point, Ian added the veggie stocks to thin out the puree.

For a dessert soup, you may add sugar and water instead of veggie stocks.

The ratio of veggie stocks to the veggie puree is about 2 or 3 parts of stocks to 1 part of veggie puree, depending on your preference of liquidy.

Butternut-Coconut-Cream-Soup-with-Veggie-Stock-19To serve, place some caramelized corn at the bottom of the bowl for the surprise element.
Butternut-Coconut-Cream-Soup-with-Veggie-Stock-18Ladle the butternut squash cream soup over the corns and garnish with some toasted pumpkin seeds.The Butternut Squash and Coconut Cream Soup with Veggie Stocks is creamy, sweet (from the corns) and has some crunchy to it (from the pumpkin seeds).

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Susan

    What an interesting adaption of pumpkin soup! Looks wonderful!

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