Last week I had a friend over for dinner and we decided to enjoy a nice baby spinach salad with roast pumpkin, sweet potato and feta (recipe following soon, we were too immersed in cooking and forgot to take photos), so after I was left with 3/4 of a jap pumpkin
(also known as Kabocha
in the rest of the world). What to do?! Pumpkin soup, I thought! Back in Munich I loved having it once summer was fading away and temperatures started to go down, and since we’re moving towards Aussie winter (hey, we do get 10-15 degrees Celsius at night here in SE-Queensland!) it sounded like a pretty darn good idea. It’s quite easy to make, but you will need a good blender, ideally a stick blender, to get the soup nice and smooth. Prep will overall take about an hour, so let’s get started!
Start by cutting the pumpkin into cubes of 4-5cm, peel removed. I used a Kabocha pumpkin, so I first cut it into slices, like a cake, removed the seeds, then cut away the peel, then cut the slice into cubes. Using a peeler on that sort of pumpkin always seems way too cumbersome to me. You can use whatever pumpkin you’re able to get, it most probably will taste super yum as well!
Peel and cut the carrots, maybe a bit smaller cubes, since carrot needs a bit longer to cook. Peel and quarter the onions.
In a large pot, heat up 3-4 tablespoons of coconut oil. Alternatively, butter will also do a great job. Toss in the pumpkin cubes, carrot cubes and the onions and fry on maximum heat, making sure you stir well and often so everyone gets to sizzle a little. 😉
In the meantime, prepare one litre of vegetable stock with hot water. As soon as the pumpkin & co. start sticking to the bottom of the pot, pour in the vegetable stock, stir, and let everything boil for another 10-15 minutes.
Peel and cut the garlic and ginger into pieces, de-seed the birdseye chillies and cut them as well, and mash everything into a paste with the help of pestle and mortar. We could also just chop everything finely, but I always find the paste to release much more flavour. In Romania, this is the way we prepare garlic that goes into any kind of stew or our garlic sauces for BBQs, and similarly many Indian curries make use of garlic-ginger paste.
I borrowed this technique and just added chilli to it. Be aware that birdseye chillies are quite hot, so make sure to wash your hands immediately after touching them – last time I made mango salad
with those chillies I didn’t and couldn’t take out my contact lenses for three days. 😱 Not kidding. 😄
Check if pumpkin and carrot are soft with the help of a fork. If yes, take your soup off the hotplate and blend very well with the help of your stick blender. Spend a good amount of time making sure it becomes really smooth.
Now add your garlic-ginger-chilli paste and give the soup another boil, this will help the flavour to develop while at the same time making sure your soup doesn’t taste overly intense of fresh garlic.
Take the soup off the stove, grab a spoon and taste it! How do you find it in terms of flavour and saltiness? The teaspoons I indicated for the seasoning are rather orientative, figure out what best works for you.
I added two teaspoons of fish sauce, and gradually added soy sauce, ending up with four teaspooons. This is the rather light soy sauce, if you use the dark, chinese one, which is much saltier and intense, you might need only two. Also gradually squeeze in lemon juice. You can also add a few swings of turmeric to intensify the soup’s colour.
Now pour in 1/2 can of coconut milk (250ml) and give it a good stir. If you used butter for frying, you might find the entire can of coconut milk could go in, just gradually add more until you’re happy with the taste.
At the end, add a good amount of cracked pepper and give it another stir. Serve sprinkled with coarsely chopped coriander on top and slices of toasted sourdough. What is also very tasty is adding fried prawns, either on a skewer or directly into the soup, or roasted pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil.