Every winter my dad makes the same fragrant and spicy pumpkin soup. It’s become almost synonymous with the cold and winter months, and one of his signature dishes. He’s never followed a recipe, and maybe every time it tastes a little different, but the combination of the spicy ginger with the smooth and buttery pumpkin, creamy coconut and sometimes the zest of lemongrass or lime juice is a winning explosion of flavour, colour, warmth and texture every time. I’ve been craving it a lot lately, so have been making my own version of it, using sesame oil, chili, and butternut squash. Give it a go – you won’t regret it! If you have a large pot, or the time to make two separate pots, double the recipe and keep half of the soup in the freezer to warm you up on a cold and miserable day.
You will need:
- a drizzle of sesame oil (or coconut oil is great too)
- 1 white onion, chopped (or one of those bags of ready chopped onion)
- 2 butternut squashes, peeled, deseeded and chopped (or a few of those bags of ready chopped butternut squash)
- 3 leeks, washed and chopped
- 2 tins of coconut milk
- 1 large knob of ginger, peeled
- 1 or 2 chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, pressed
- 2 lemongrass sticks, chopped
- vegetable stock
- salt and pepper to taste
- Creme fraiche or yoghurt, to serve
1. Heat some sesame oil or coconut oil (or even a bit of both) on a low heat in a large deep saucepan, and add the chopped chillies, lemongrass and garlic, and grate in the whole knob of ginger. Stir to avoid any burning or sticking to the pan.
2. Add the chopped onion, leeks and butternut squash, and coat in the oily mixture, then pour in some vegetable stock to stop it sticking to the pan.
3. Simmer for 15 minutes until the vegetables have softened, then add in a can of coconut milk. Leave to simmer for a while (half an hour or so), checking on it every now and then to make sure it hasn’t dried out (feed it some vegetable stock or coconut milk every time it looks like it might stick to the pan).
4. Pour in the rest of the coconut milk, then blend with a hand blender until silky and smooth. Season to taste.
5. Serve hot! To make easy croutons just toast some bread (or toast with some oil in the oven), then cut into squares with some scissors. Serve with creme fraiche or yoghurt.