Autumn is the season for pumpkin, gourds, winter squash, apples and sweet potatoes. I look forward to cooler weather and all the fall produce. In addition to providing decoration for our homes and yards, pumpkin and winter squash are extremely tasty — when properly cooked. In my opinion, there is no comparison between freshly cooked pumpkin and the canned variety. My husband recently brought home several small “sugar pumpkins” or “pie pumpkins.” Okay, now I get to cook them! But, I’m ready. These pumpkins have a very mild, slightly sweet flavor and can be used in many recipes. Today I made a small batch of absolutely delicious “Coconut Curry Pumpkin Soup.” Although some recipes for this soup are complicated, this Thai-inspired soup is extremely easy to make.
Pumpkin is full of nutritional value especially antioxidants, Vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene (Vitamin A precursor), potassium and fiber. We all learned that Vitamin A is good for eye sight. Now we know that the antioxidants found in pumpkins have many healthy benefits especially in prevention of chronic diseases such as heart disease and some types of cancers. I am sure there are many more health benefits, too, but this list is convincing to me and good enough reason to add pumpkin to meals.
There are so many ways to use and cook fresh pumpkin. The best recipe ever is my mother-in-law’s “Pumpkin Chiffon Pie” which I featured in 2014. I included links to it and other recipes at the bottom of this post.. But there is more than pie. Add pumpkin to cakes, cookies and quick breads. In 2018, I featured a recipe for “Cajun-Inspired Roast Pumpkin Slices.” Yum! (It actually is very tasty!) Pumpkin soup — either savory or oriental-inspired versions — is also flavorful and soothing.
And it is not difficult to prepare these small sugar pumpkins for use in recipes. Here is what I did to cook the pumpkins. These small 2 to 3 pound pumpkins are easily roasted.
First, cut the pumpkins in half, lengthwise, using a very sharp knife. Remove the seeds. I used a the side of a spoon to scrape the seeds out.
Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly oil the pan (so the pumpkin doesn’t stick). Place the pumpkin halves face down on the pan. Pierce the skin of the pumpkin in several places to let the steam escape. Bake in a 375 degree oven until the skin of the pumpkins is blistered and the pulp is soft. Larger pumpkins may take longer to bake.
Remove the pumpkins from the oven and let cool. Then scrape out the pump, add to a food processor and process until the pulp is blended. I portioned the pulp out into one cup measures and placed in small zip-lock bags. (One small two-pound pumpkin yielded two cups of pulp.) These bags can be frozen for a couple of months if you are not ready to cook all the pumpkin immediately.
Making the “Coconut Curry Pumpkin Soup” recipe
“Soup for Two” could be a subtitle for the recipe as we ate this batch of soup at one meal. Although a large pot of soup is nice, some times I like a small – one meal — recipe. And so I scaled down the ingredients. This is a very quick and easy soup recipe. I used “powdered” spices which I had on my shelves, rather than fresh ones (such as ginger) which simplified the process. This soup does contain “Garam Masala” which is a spice used in many Indian dishes. It is easily located in oriental markets and I keep it on my kitchen shelf for an occasional Indian-inspired recipe. I used sodium-reduced chicken broth, but you could easily substitute vegetable broth for a vegetarian version. Note that I did not add extra salt or pepper to the soup. The recipe really doesn’t not need these. Here are the ingredients:
To make the soup, chop up the onion — very finely — and press the garlic through a garlic press. Sauté these seasonings in a little oil. Then add the ground spices and blend in. Next add pumpkin pulp and then the chicken broth (or vegetable broth). Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes or so. Stir in a half can of coconut milk and cook a little longer. Although alot of recipes call for pureeing the soup with an immersion blender or food processor — I skipped that step. Let’s make it easy and I don’t mind the bits of onion.
That’s the soup. It takes just about 15 to 20 minutes to make (provided that you roasted the pumpkin ahead of time)!
For a little flair, I added a garnish of fresh cilantro and some fried wonton strips. This was for no special reason, but the cilantro flavor complements the soup well and some crisp chips provide a little crunch.
The oriental flavors of this soup really make it sort of a special recipe. It would be fitting to serve at a dinner party. (Do we have these again?) Your guests might think that this is an complicated recipe and that you spent alot of time making the soup — but fool them. Plus, It is easy to double or triple the recipe. I hope you enjoy adding fresh pumpkin to many recipes this fall. Let’s keep healthy!
A Small Batch of Coconut Curry Pumpkin Soup
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 1/2 medium white onion, chopped finely (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 large garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic press
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp ginger powder
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1 cup fresh pumpkin pulp*
- 1 (14.5 oz) can sodium-reduced chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- 3/4 cup (1/2 of a 13.5 oz can) of coconut milk, stirred
- fresh cilantro, for garnish (optional)
- fried wonton strips, for garnish (optional)
Instructions and Steps:
- Add oil to a large medium-sized heavy pot and heat to medium-heat on stove.
- Add finely chopped onion and pressed garlic. Stir and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes until onion is translucent and soft.
- Add curry powder, ginger powder and garam masala. Stir to combine.
- Add pumpkin pulp and stir to combine.
- Add sodium-reduced chicken broth (or vegetable broth) and stir. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
- Add coconut milk and stir to combine. Heat 5 additional minutes.
- Pour into two soup bowls.
- Garnish with cilantro leaves and fried wonton strips, if desired.
*To prepare pumpkin pulp: halve two “sugar pumpkins” or “pie pumpkins” which are about 2 to 3 pounds each in half lengthwise, using a sharp knife. Remove the seeds by scraping with side of spoon. Place, cut side down, on lightly oiled baking sheet which is covered with aluminum foil. Pierce skin of pumpkin several places with knife. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until pumpkin is soft. Remove from oven, cool. Use spoon to scrape out pulp. Process pulp in food processor until smooth. Use one cup in recipe and use remaining pulp in other recipes.
Recipe links for pumpkin recipes:
“Pumpkin Chiffon Pie” https://beyondgumbo.com/2014/11/18/pumpkin-chiffon-pie/
“Cajun-Inspired Roast Pumpkin Slices” https://beyondgumbo.com/2018/11/11/lets-eat-pumpkin-cajun-inspired-roast-pumpkin-slices/
“Vegetarian Chili with Pumpkin” https://beyondgumbo.com/2018/10/21/vegetarian-chili-with-pumpkin/
“Pumpkin and Spice Snickerdoodles” https://beyondgumbo.com/2018/10/07/pumpkin-and-spice-snickerdoodles/