When it comes to soul-warming comfort food, few dishes can rival a bowl of heartwarming Thai kabocha squash soup (with pork ribs). This delightful comfort food combines the rich flavors of kabocha squash with the savory goodness of baby pork ribs, resulting in a silky and satisfying soup perfect for chilly nights and early fall dinners.
This family recipe is a comforting childhood memory for me as we enjoyed Kabocha squash a few times a year. To learn more about Kabocha squash, read this helpful blog post here. Then, learn how to cut Kabocha squash using this detailed guide.
- Why You'll Love This Thai Kabocha Squash Soup
- What is Thai Kabocha Squash Soup with Baby Pork Ribs?
- What is kabocha squash?
- Ingredients for Kabocha Squash Soup Recipe
- Baby Pork Ribs for Kabocha Squash
- How to Make Thai Kabocha Squash Soup
- Garnishing Options
- Helpful Kitchen Notes and Tips
- Helpful Kitchen Tools for This Recipe
- What to Serve with Thai Kabocha Squash Soup with Baby Pork Ribs
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Related Thai Recipes You'll Love
- Thai Kabocha Squash Soup
- More Thai Recipes You'll Love
Why You'll Love This Thai Kabocha Squash Soup
- Rich Flavor Fusion: This Thai kabocha squash soup seamlessly blends the natural sweetness of kabocha squash with the umami goodness of baby pork ribs, creating a harmonious and flavorful experience.
- Creamy and Velvety Texture: This soup's creamy consistency, achieved through coconut milk and an immersion blender, makes it incredibly satisfying and comforting.
- Nutrient-Rich Ingredients: Kabocha squash is not only delicious but also a great source of vitamins and fiber, making this soup a healthy choice for your family.
- Easy to Prepare: This recipe is perfect for beginners and seasoned home cooks with simple ingredients and easy-to-follow steps.
- It is great as a starter to help whet your appetite or can be eaten as a main dish with rice or other Thai dishes.
- It's a perfect comfort food. It is a tasty and hearty soup. It will keep you full all day with a richness of kabocha squash and pork ribs.
- Fun to eat! Pork ribs with bones-in get cooked in brothy water for a long time, making the meat fall off the bone tender and creating a fun eating experience. Especially for kids!
What is Thai Kabocha Squash Soup with Baby Pork Ribs?
Thai kabocha squash soup with baby pork ribs is a delectable soup made from kabocha squash, also known as Japanese pumpkin, combined with tender baby pork ribs. The soup boasts a light and heartwarming flavor. The sweetness of the squash is complemented by the meatiness of baby back ribs perfectly.
What is kabocha squash?
Kabocha squash is a type of Japanese pumpkin or Asian pumpkin with bright orange flesh. It is known for its natural sweetness and can be eaten entirely, including the skin and seeds. When cooked, it has a silky texture that is quite delicious.
Besides being tasty, kabocha squash is also a good source of vitamin C, which is beneficial for our immune system.
Ingredients for Kabocha Squash Soup Recipe
You'll need the following ingredients to create this Thai kabocha squash soup with baby pork ribs. And be sure to check the recipe notes at the bottom of the page for extra tips in the kitchen. The measurements are in the recipe card below.
- Kabocha squash (Japanese squash or pumpkin). The kabocha squash's dark green skin is edible and often used in Thai recipes.
- Water. It serves as the base for the soup and will be seasoned with traditional Thai paste.
- Baby pork ribs. Ask your butcher or grocery deli to cut the ribs into 3-4-inch pieces.
- Pork boullion. Find these at most Asian grocery stores. Use chicken powder or any soup boullion as substitutes.
- Cilantro stems or roots. It is very important for seasoning the base of the soup.
- Garlic cloves. One of the three main ingredients in making Sam Gler a Thai classic paste that makes this soup unique and flavorful.
- White pepper. White pepper makes this soup distinctively Thai that you won't get in a black pepper. Do your best to find white pepper.
- Salt. Use pink or kosher salt for seasoning the soup.
- Fish sauce. I used the Squid brand. Start small and add more as needed.
- Soy sauce. Taste the soup's flavors and add as needed.
- Green onions. For seasoning and garnishing the soup.
Baby Pork Ribs for Kabocha Squash
When buying pork back ribs for this Thai soup, pick baby back ribs for a more tender meat. Also, cut the ribs into small sizes, around 2-3 inches in length. I asked the meat store clerk to cut mine at my regular grocery store. (Safeway). They didn't seem to mind one bit when I asked.
How to Make Thai Kabocha Squash Soup
Cutting a whole kabocha squash will be the most challenging part of this recipe. Don't worry. It's not that bad. It takes some strong grips and a sharp knife. Read my full blog post with photos on how to cut a kabocha squash here.
Step 1. Cut the Kabocha Squash. Cut the kabocha squash into large chunks but bite-size, 1-2 inch pieces, leaving the skin on. Set aside until ready.
Step 2. Make the paste. Pound garlic, cilantro roots, and white pepper in a stone mortar and pestle until you have a rough paste. A spice grinder works if you don't have a mortar and pestle.
Step 3: Prepare the Soup Base. Add the paste, salt, bouillion water, and baby pork ribs in a large pot or Dutch oven. On medium-high heat, bring the stock water to a rolling boil. Turn the heat down slightly between medium to medium high heat.
Step 4: Simmer the Soup. Cover and let the soup simmer for a rich flavor infusion. Cook until the pork ribs are tender, around 30-40 minutes. Remove scum as necessary for a more clear broth.
Step 5: Cook the kabocha squash. Add the kabocha squash and green onion to the brothy soup. Cook until its fork is tender but not too mushy. Around 6-9 minutes. Use a fork to test the texture of the kabocha.
Step 6: Seasoned, Garnish and Serve. Taste the soup and add fish sauce and soy sauce as needed. The broth should be very tasty, even without the sauces. If you love the flavors, stop here, and you're done. If you want/need more flavors, add fish sauce and soy sauce.
Serve the soup hot, garnished with chopped green onions, cilantro, and a dash of ground white pepper for a light kick of heat. Enjoy your kabocha squash soup!
Garnish your Thai kabocha squash soup with baby pork ribs, chopped fresh cilantro, and a sprinkle of roasted pumpkin seeds for freshness and flavor.
These additions enhance the visual appeal and provide a delightful contrast to the creamy soup.
Helpful Kitchen Notes and Tips
- To make this soup vegan or vegetarian, you can substitute the baby pork ribs with plant-based protein sources like tofu or tempeh.
- Kabocha skin is edible, adding extra nutrients and texture to the soup. Feel free to peel or leave them on as you prefer. Or perhaps try both for your first time!
- Unsalted stock or broth can be used for this recipe for added flavors. Use half the amount of bullion if using stock or broth. I recommend vegetable stock for vegetarian or plant-based soup or use chicken broth otherwise.
- Kabocha squash is often called the "Japanese variety of winter squash" due to its popularity in Japanese cuisine. Look for that label if you are having difficulty finding them.
Helpful Kitchen Tools for This Recipe
These items below are affiliate links where I earn a small commission if you purchase these suggested items. These items help make this recipe successful. You will not pay extra if you choose to purchase any of the items.
- Dutch oven: Ideal for sautéing and simmering the soup.
- Soup pot. A large soup pot is essential for making this recipe.
- Sharp knife: Essential for cutting and preparing the kabocha squash.
- Cutting board: A large, sturdy cutting board is necessary when cutting the kabocha squash.
- A butcher's knife. For cutting the pork ribs or any tough-to-cut-through food items.
What to Serve with Thai Kabocha Squash Soup with Baby Pork Ribs
Use beef ribs as another meat variation for this soup.
- If kabocha squash is unavailable, butternut squash can be used as a substitute. While it has a slightly different flavor, it will still create a creamy and delicious soup.
- Try sweet potatoes or yam as substitutes.
- Use Golden Mountain or Maggi seasoning sauce instead of soy sauce for an even more flavorful soup.
Leftover soup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days or in a freezer-safe container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Kabocha squash has a sweeter flavor and creamier texture compared to acorn squash. Its skin is also edible.
No. I wouldn't recommend it for this recipe if you want to stay true to Thai flavors; otherwise, you'd make miso soup instead of Thai kabocha squash soup.
While it's commonly found in late summer and fall, you can often find it in Asian markets, well-stocked grocery stores, and farmers' markets throughout the year.
The main differences between Kabocha squash and regular pumpkins are that the kabocha has a sweeter taste and denser flesh than regular pumpkins. Its skin is typically dark green and is edible. Most other pumpkins are not as sweet or creamy, and the skin is usually not edible.
Related Thai Recipes You'll Love
Explore more Thai-inspired recipes to satisfy your culinary cravings.
- Thai ginger chicken with zingy, thinly sliced fresh ginger in savory umami sauce.
- Thai BBQ prawns use the kinds of shrimps with heads and tails on to hold in all the flavors.
- Nam Prik Pao. A Thai classic chili sauce with roasted garlic, red pepper flakes, and shallot.
- Instant pot Tom Yum soup with shrimp.
- Slow cooker Asian beef bone broth.
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