Recipes | Pumpkin, coconut and lentil soup

Recipes

Pumpkin, coconut and lentil soup

If you're carving a pumpkin for Hallowe'en this weekend here's a gorgeous spicy soup from Jenny Chandler's excellent book Pulse to make with the discarded pulp.

Jenny writes: "Pumpkin gives this soup a wonderful velvety texture and when it comes to the flavour, the Thai balance of spicy, sweet, sour and salty is vital. The chilli provides the spicy heat, so just keep adding small amounts of fish sauce or soy, lime juice and sugar until you reach perfection."

Pumpkin, coconut and lentil soup

Serves 4

2 tbsp vegetable oil

small bunch of spring onions (scallions), finely sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

5-cm/2-in piece of fresh ginger, chopped

1–2 fiery chillies, finely chopped

2 stalks of lemongrass, outer leaves removed and remainder finely sliced

225 g/8 oz/generous 1 cup red lentils, rinsed

500 g/1 lb 2 oz pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and
cut into 2 cm/3⁄4 inch dice

1.2 litres/2 pints/5 cups vegetable or chicken stock

400 g/14 oz can of coconut milk

1 tbsp tamarind paste

2 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)

Thai fish sauce or tamari soy sauce

juice of 1–2 limes

pinch of brown sugar or palm sugar (optional)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add most of the spring onions (setting aside
a tablespoon to garnish). Add the garlic, ginger, chilli and lemongrass and stir
for a minute or two, until you are engulfed in fabulous smells. You will be wheezing if you have been generous with the chilli!

Add the lentils, pumpkin or squash and the stock, and simmer until the lentils are soft and the pumpkin flesh has collapsed.

Stir in the coconut milk, tamarind and most of the coriander. Now taste and balance the soup with fish sauce or soy sauce, lime juice and sugar.

Serve hot, sprinkled with the remaining spring onions and coriander.

You could also:

... thin the soup with a little extra stock or water and add some sugarsnap peas for the last 2 minutes of cooking

... stir-fry some raw prawns with a little chilli and garlic and serve on top of the soup.

What to drink: I normally go for chardonnay with pumpkin but with these spicy Thai flavours I reckon a dry or off-dry Australian or New Zealand riesling would be a much better option.

Recipe from Pulse by Jenny Chandler, published by Pavilion at £26 . Photograph © Clare Winfield.

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