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1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup diced shallots
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup minced fresh peeled ginger
4 bay leaves
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
1 1/3 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 cups homemade or canned, store-bought low-sodium chicken stock, heated
One 1-inch chunk palm sugar (available in Asian grocery stores)
One 15-ounce can low-fat coconut milk
Freshly chopped chives, for garnish
Fresh curry leaves, for garnish
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, and continue to stir; add ginger. Continue cooking until shallots are soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add bay leaves and red pepper; continue cooking for 1 minute more. Stir in squash, salt, and curry powder; cook for 10 minutes.
||Raise the heat to medium-high, and add chicken stock. Cover, and bring to a boil. Immediately lower the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring and mashing every 5 minutes. Add the palm sugar and cook for 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk and continue cooking for 10 minutes.
||Remove bay leaves from soup. Using an immersion blender or in batches using a bar blender, purée until smooth.
||Reheat soup, seasoning with salt. Garnish with chives, and serve immediately.