Menadonese sweet corn, cassava and pumpkin soup (Tinutuan)
This is a very substantial soup, or a very good breakfast or lunch dish. For best results, all the ingredients should be fresh. Also, traditionally, in the Minahasa region of Sulawesi, tinutuan has to be made with cassava (a starchy root). In the West, cassava is obtainable from Asian grocers.
8 oz. (½ lb./250g) cassava, peeled and cut into largish cubes
2 oz. (60 g) white rice, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes, then drained
3 fresh corn cobs, shaved or 6 oz. (180g) canned or frozen corn kernels
8-10 oz. (½ lb./250g-300g) pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes the same size as the cassava
4 oz. (1/4 lb./125 g) bamboo shoots, sliced (optional)
1 tsp. (5 ml) salt, plus extra to taste
To be added just before serving
1 lemongrass stem, outer leaves discarded, finely chopped
1 turmeric leaf, finely shredded (optional)
8 oz. (½ lb./250g) young spinach, thoroughly washed
8 oz. (½ lb./250g) kangkung (also known as water spinach, it resembles watercress; all but the bottom half of the stems are used; available from Asian grocers), trimmed and washed (optional)
1 c. (250 ml) hot water from a kettle
about 20 fresh, sweet basil leaves
First put 4½ cups (1.125L) water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. When boiling, add the cassava and rice, and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the sweet corn, pumpkin, bamboo shoots and 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt. Continue to simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. The mixture is now ready to become the basis of the soup. It can be prepared and cooked up to this point well in advance. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Just before serving, heat the thick soup. When hot, add the lemongrass, turmeric, spinach and water spinach. Pour in the hot water from the kettle. Simmer for 5 minutes only. Adjust the seasoning with a little extra salt if needed and add the basil leaves. Simmer for one more minute and serve the soup right away. Serves 4.
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