One item that should be on your annual Autumn bucket list … cook something with pumpkin!
Most of us think of pumpkin as something sweet – pumpkin pie or pumpkin spice latte – or Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Rolls.
But pumpkin is actually a winter squash, and can be taken in a savory direction as well. Think of pumpkin chili. Pumpkin pasta sauce. Pumpkin as an ingredient in vegan mac ‘n cheeze.
And of course, there’s soups and stews. Many are traditional – heavy on the sage or cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. But while browsing the internet seeking inspiration for “this year’s” pumpkin recipe, I saw plenty of non-traditional recipes – such as pumpkin ale soup. I also saw quite a few very simple recipes for pumpkin coconut curry soup.
I was intrigued. Many of these simple recipes were labeled “Indian,” but to me coconut milk and curry powder suggest Thai. So that’s the direction I decided to take it. Adding lots of garlic, ginger, and turmeric. A squeeze of lime. A pinch of sweet basil. (I also decided to reduce the fat by not using full-fat coconut milk.)
The result was not only delicious but exactly what my body needed.
Charlotte had been going through a very un-Charlotte-like week of cold, non-stop, steady rain. Skies were gray. The sun didn’t even seem to be trying. I was tired and had swollen glands in my neck. My body was obviously fighting off something.
But this soup! Garlic supports the immune system. Ginger and turmeric fight inflammation. Hot peppers open up your sinus passages and keep everything … uh … flowing. The soup is creamy enough to be comforting but light enough for a “meh” appetite. Plus, the curry spices are delightfully warming in those chilly gray days when the cold damp seems to seep into your very bones! I honestly believe that sipping this soup (sometimes as an afternoon snack) helped me fight off some big, bad bug.
Give it a try for yourself, some cold, gray, rainy day.
Ingredients for Healing Pumpkin Curry Soup
1 Can Pumpkin Puree (make sure it’s pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling)
1 Can Low Fat or Reduced Fat Coconut Milk (I usually use Trader Joe’s, which strikes a nice midway balance)
1 TBL Oil*
1 Largish Onion, diced
2 Largish Cloves Garlic, minced or pressed
1 Serrano Pepper, chopped finely (about 1 TBL)
1 1-inch Knob Fresh Ginger, minced finely (about 1 TBL)
2 1/2 – 3 Cups Water*
2 Teaspoons Yellow Curry Powder
1 Teaspoon Ground Turmeric
1/2 – 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
Juice of 1/2 Lime
Pinch of Dried Basil*
Directions for Healing Pumpkin Curry Soup
First, PREP! This soup comes together very quickly! Chop your onion and pepper; mince your garlic and ginger; measure out your spices; halve your lime; and open the cans.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a soup pot over medium heat. If you regularly use coconut oil, use that; otherwise, use whatever mild tasting oil you normally would – I recommend organic canola or a mild, non-fruity olive oil.
Add the onions and Serrano pepper. Saute about 4-5 minutes.
Add the garlic and ginger. Cook for another 2 minutes.
Add curry powder and turmeric. Stir quickly to mix with the onion masala you have created. You don’t want to let these spices burn.
Add canned pumpkin. Add coconut milk. Add salt. Add water (2 1/2 cups if you want a thicker, creamier soup – 3 cups if you want a slightly thinner, “sippable” soup.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
Add the juice of 1/2 lime and a pinch of dried basil. (Fresh basil would obviously be better, but being realistic here – it’s late autumn. And obviously Thai basil would be best, but most of us don’t have easy access to that. If you have access to fresh basil or Thai basil, by all means use a few leaves of that.)
Blend – important step! Use an immersion blender – be careful if you are using a nonstick pot! Or, let the soup cool slightly, then puree in “batches” in a regular blender.
Serve and enjoy!
This is a great soup to meal prep! It’s one of the soups where the flavors intensify and meld after sitting overnight in the fridge. It also freezes well. Consider making a double batch.