Curried Pumpkin Soup

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Every January, my church fasts for 21 days. It’s a physically intense experience and, coupled with jet-lag – as we always return from overseas the same day the fast starts  – you’ve got a complete meltdown just waiting to happen.

Despite the meltdowns, fasting is a spiritually rewarding experience and it can also be physically rewarding, if done correctly. The most common way to fast at my church is to do a full liquid diet. No solids for 21 days. Last year, I failed big time not because I ate any solids but because my diet consisted of a lot of really, really unhealthy liquids – ie, melted ice cream, melted chocolate, gross amounts of Milo.

This year I vow to do better. I am going dairy, added-sugar, grain and legume free.

Over the next few weeks I will share some of my favorite vegan soup recipes with you. The amazing thing about soups is they are intensely flavorful without needing much additional anything. The vegetables will give you all the flavor you need.

Let’s make some soup!

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The base of this recipe is made of kabochas. I’m sure you can make this recipe with American pumpkins as well, but in Singapore I can’t find regular pumpkins, and even if I could, why would I buy them when I can get a whole kabocha for S$1.60?

The only other ingredients you need are Thai Red Curry paste, an onion, garlic, ginger, and spices (cumin, garlic, curry, and cayenne)

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This recipe is extremely simple, with one caveat – hacking apart the kabocha. This is not for the light hearted. In fact, I developed a painful blister halfway through the second kabocha and gave up. You really must be careful too or you could lose a finger.

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The easiest way I’ve found is to insert the tip of your (very sharp) knife into the thick skin, slide the knife 3/4s of the way around the kabocha, and pull the kabocha apart with your fingers. Then lay the kabocha half flat side down and cut down towards the cutting board in inch wide slices. Lat the slices flat and cut them into one-inch pieces, then cut off the tough skin and innards. You’re going to want to give up but just keep reminding yourself that it’s WORTH IT.

Another option is to cut the kabocha in half, chuck it in the oven, and roast it to death for an hour or so until soft. Then you can easily scoop out the flesh. But why  make life easy when it can be difficult?

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Now for the simple stuff: dice up an onion.

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Mince some garlic…

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And ginger.

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And add the onions, garlic, and ginger to a big pot with a few tablespoons of coconut oil, and sauté until the onions are soft.

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Add your spices and the curry paste (and another tablespoon of coconut oil if things are looking dry), and cook for a few minutes until the curry paste has loosened up and your kitchen smells really, really good.

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Yum. Flavor, baby.

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Now add all those pumpkin pieces that you nearly lost a limb preparing.

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Cover with water (you can use vegetable stock but I prefer to use water unless I make the vegetable stock myself. Some store-bought stock can be weird). Give it a mix then put a lid on the pot and simmer over medium-low heat until the pumpkin pieces are soft.

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When the pumpkin is soft (around 30-45 min), blend it with an immersion blender until smooth. You can also pour it into a stand blender if you don’t have an immersion blender, but if you plan on making lots of soups I encourage you to invest in an immersion blender. They’re God-send when making big batches of soup.

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That’s what it’ll look like when you’re all done. You may want to add more water if the consistency is too thick for your liking. You can also add a bit of salt to bring out the flavor, although I find that the soup doesn’t need much salt.

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Enjoy it with a bit (or a lot) of coconut milk.

Printable recipe below.

Curried Pumpkin Soup
Serves 8

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients
2 medium kabochas, seeded and skinned, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 inches ginger, minced (about 3 tablespoons minced)
3 tbs coconut oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 2.4oz packet Thai red curry paste (I prefer the spicy kind)
salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large pot heat coconut oil over medium heat and add diced onion, garlic, and ginger. Sauté until onions are soft and translucent.
  2. Add cumin, curry powder, garlic, and curry paste and sauté for a few minutes until the curry paste loosens up and the flavors are combined.
  3. Add prepared kabocha pieces and enough water to just cover the kabocha. Stir a few times to loosen any pieces of onion stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 30-45 minute until kabocha is soft (easy to pierce with a knife)
  5. Blend with an immersion blender. Add salt to taste.
  6. Serve with coconut milk.

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