Thai Pumpkin Coconut Soup

Thai Pumpkin Coconut Soup
In Thailand, pumpkin and coconut milk are commonly paired up to make a variety of soups, curries, and even sweet dishes. Here they are combined with a lightly curried soup that makes for a wonderful vegetarian/vegan entree – similar to those served at Thai or Vietnamese restaurants throughout Australia. The addition of lemongrass makes it particularly healthy – great for chasing away cold & flu bugs. This soup is wonderful on its own, or serve it like they do in Thailand: with plain steamed rice or noodles on the side. Enjoy!
Cuisine: Thai
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • ¼ - ½ can thick coconut milk
  • 4 tablespoons minced fresh lemongrass
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves (or 1 teaspoon grated lime zest)
  • 3 cups pumpkin or squash, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
  • 2 cups sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1-2 cups soft tofu, sliced into cubes (or substitute chickpeas)
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal or ginger, grated or sliced thinly into matchsticks
  • 1-2 fresh red chilies, sliced (or ¼ - ½ teaspoon dried crushed chilli)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder
  • ¾ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3-4 tablespoons soy sauce, to taste (use wheat-free for gluten-free diets)
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1-2 generous handfuls baby spinach, washed
  • ½ cup fresh basil and ½ cup fresh coriander, for toppings
  1. Place stock in a pot over high heat. If making your stock from cubes or powder, be sure to make it strong-tasting - this will give you the best soup! Now add the lemongrass (include the leftover stalk pieces if using fresh lemongrass), plus the kaffir lime leaves, shallot, garlic, galangal or ginger, and chilli. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add the pumpkin (or squash) and sweet potato. Reduce heat slightly and gently boil for 6-7 minutes.
  3. While the soup is cooking, add the spices/flavourings, stirring with each addition: turmeric, chilli powder, ground coriander, ground cumin, soy sauce, brown sugar, and lime juice.
  4. When pumpkin and sweet potato are soft enough to eat, reduce heat to low. Now stir in the coconut milk (start with ¼ can and increase to ½ can if you want it creamier or less spicy).
  5. Stir well and taste-test the soup for salt and spice, adding more soy sauce or a little salt if not salty or flavourful enough (this will depend on the taste of your original stock). Add more lime juice if it happens to be too salty or sweet. If it's too sour for your liking, add a little more sugar; also adjust the spice level by adding more chilli or chilli sauce. If too spicy, add more coconut milk.
  6. Just before serving, add the soft tofu and spinach and gently stir it into the soup (the spinach will wilt instantly and the soft tofu will heat up in seconds). Portion out into bowls and top with the fresh basil and coriander. Note that this soup can be served as is, or with rice or noodles. In Thailand, it is served with rice on the side, each person adding their own directly to the soup.
Other veggies that can be added to this soup include: carrots, chopped red or green capsicum, broccoli, mushrooms, and bok choy.

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