Spicy Pumpkin & Coconut Soup with Ginger & Lime
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 1 1/2 lbs. pumpkin or squash, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
- a bunch of scallions, chopped
- a 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2-3 red chiles, seeded and chopped, plus extra slices to garnish
- 2 lemongrass stalks, spilt lengthways
- a large bunch of cilantro, stalks and leaves separated
- 5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 x 14-oz. can coconut milk
- 2-3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
- freshly squeezed juice of 1-2 limes
- crème fraîche or sour cream, to serve
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and, over low heat, sweat the pumpkin and onions with a pinch of salt until soft but not browned, about 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the ginger, garlic, chiles, lemongrass, and cilantro stalks in another saucepan with the stock and simmer gently, covered, for 20-25 minutes. Let the stock cool slightly, then liquidize and sieve into the saucepan with the pumpkin mixture, pressing hard on the contents of the sieve to extract maximum flavor. Discard the debris in the sieve, then pur’e the liquid again with the pumpkin mixture until smooth.
Return the soup to the rinsed-out saucepan, add the coconut milk, 2 tablespoons fish sauce, and the juice of 1 lime, then reheat, stirring all the time, to just below boiling point. Adjust the seasoning, adding more fish sauce and lime juice to taste. Chop most of the cilantro leaves finely and stir into the soup (keep a few leaves to scatter over the soup at the end). Heat for a few minutes, but do not allow to boil.
Serve piping hot, topped with a spoonful of crème fraîche and scattered with the reserved coriander leaves and/or some extra red chile slices.
Cooking with Pumpkins and Squash Brian Glover. Ryland Peters & Small, $15.95, 2010. Photo credit: Peter Cassidy