This zippy, velvety and comforting pumpkin soup, adapted from Everyday Thai Cooking (Tuttle Publishing) exemplifies Katie Chin’s easy approach to Thai cuisine. It uses ingredients that you can find in many supermarkets, and if you can’t find ’em, Katie has suggestions for simple substitutions. “Thais often use pumpkins to make desserts or delicious savory soups like this one,” Katie says. “The heat from the spices is a great contrast to the sweet pumpkin in this seasonal soup. You may substitute the pumpkin with any kind of winter squash.” I found it works just as beautifully with butternut squash. Check out Katie’s blog, The Sweet and Sour Chronicles.
2 tablespoons coconut oil, Canola or other high-heat cooking oil
1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 fresh hot red or green chiles, preferably Thai chiles, thinly sliced (seeded, if you prefer less heat)
1 clove garlic, chopped
4 cups peeled and diced pumpkin
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup regular or light coconut milk
2 stalks lemongrass, cut into 2-inch pieces and bruised (you can substitute grated zest of 1 lemon or lime)
1 teaspoon palm or brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Fresh Thai or Italian basil leaves, for garnish
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir-fry shallot, coriander, cumin, turmeric, chiles and garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add pumpkin, stock, coconut milk, lemongrass, sugar and salt, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil. Cook until the pumpkin softens, about 8-10 minutes. Quickly stir in fish sauce and lime juice.
Transfer a blender, or using an immersion blender, blend the soup to a smooth or slightly chunky consistency, as desired. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with basil leaves. Serve immediately.