600-700 g butternut squash, halved, peeled and deseeded
3 freeze-dried lime leaves, optional
4 red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
2 thumb-sized pieces fresh ginger, roughly chopped
2 sticks lemongrass, outer leaves discarded, roughly chopped
1 small bunch fresh coriander, leaves picked and stalks chopped
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
600 ml organic vegetable stock, hot
200 g basmati rice
2 x 400 ml coconut milk
juice of to taste 1-2 limes
fresh coconut shavings, to serve, optional
Roughly chop the squash into big chunks, then set aside. Whiz the lime leaves, if using, 3 of the chillies, , ginger, lemongrass, coriander stalks, Chinese five spice and cumin to a dryish paste in a food processor. Discard the stringy bits, if any.
Heat the oil in a deep saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the spice paste and cook gently for about 10 minutes, stirring to release the flavours. Add the squash and stock, and stir around, scraping all the goodness off the bottom of the pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, with the lid on, for about 15 minutes, until the squash is soft and cooked.
Pour in the rice and give it a really good stir – the squash might begin to break up, but it doesn't matter. Continue to simmer, covered, for 12 minutes, until the rice is just cooked.
Add the coconut milk, stir again, taste and season carefully. Bring back to a simmer, then add the lime juice, to taste. Spoon into tea or coffee cups and decorate with the fresh coriander leaves, the remaining sliced chilli and some shaved fresh coconut, if using.