Here’s a soup you can make at any time of the year. It’s pretty, filling, and healthy, and it’s spicy without being hot. Red Thai curry paste can be found in most grocery stores, but the intensity of spice differs from brand to brand, so taste as you go. For this recipe, I use Blue Dragon brand. It’s less concentrated than some, so use three tablespoons. Also, if you have a fish allergy, note that most brands contain shrimp and/or anchovy. In that case, look for a vegan brand or use a yellow East Indian curry instead. Makes about 12 cups (3 L)
3 Tbsp. (45 mL) olive oil or coconut fat
1 medium red onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp. (30 mL) peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger root (about 5 cm knob)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 to 3 Tbsp. (15 to 45 mL) Thai red curry paste
¼ cup (60 mL) dry white wine
1 796 mL can pure pumpkin meat (or roast your own pie pumpkin to make about 3 1/3 cups)
1 796 mL can chopped tomatoes, with the juice
1 900 mL tetra pack organic chicken or mushroom broth
1 398 mL can coconut milk
1 tsp (5 mL) toasted sesame oil
½ tsp (2 mL) pepper
Into a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat, add onion and ginger; stir often, cooking until just softened and translucent but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; stir often and cook for another 3 minutes, but do not brown. Add curry paste and wine; stir until well combined, with no lumps of curry paste remaining.
Add pumpkin meat, tomatoes and juice, broth, coconut milk, sesame oil and pepper. Stir until well blended. Increase heat to medium and bring to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking. Reduce heat if soup begins to boil. Puree soup with an immersion blender, or transfer soup in batches into a blender, leaving the vent open to prevent steam build up. When smooth, taste and adjust for seasoning, though, between the curry paste, broth and canned tomatoes, the finished soup should be pretty tasty!
Transfer soup to a serving dish and serve with a selection of garnishes: finely chopped Thai chili, sliced scallions, fresh coriander leaves and coriander-scallion yogurt (recipe follows).
The creaminess of the yogurt cools and enrichens the soup, while the coriander and lime add a dash of freshness. (Note: Soak the coriander in ice cold water for a few minutes to remove the grit before rinsing and drying with either a kitchen towel or salad spinner.)
1 Tbsp. (15 mL) freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
½ bunch (about 2 cups (500 mL, loosely packed) fresh coriander (leaves and tender stems only), washed and dried
6 scallions, washed, trimmed white and green parts, coarsely chopped
1 tsp (5 mL) sea salt
1 cup (250 mL) plain full-fat yogurt
Place ingredients into a blender or food processor and puree. Transfer to a dish or cream jug for pretty pouring at the table.
From Hudson, Quebec, now living in Port Hope, Ontario, Signe is a restaurant chef-turned-writer who tells award-winning stories and creates delicious recipes for such publications as: LCBO’s Food & Drink, Manna Pro Hearty Homestead, The Harvest Commission, and Today’s Parent; she published her first book – Happy Hens & Fresh Eggs; Keeping Chickens in the Kitchen Garden with 100 Recipes – in 2015. She studied Fine Art History and Humanities at the University of Toronto, and York University; she graduated with honours from OCAD University; she earned her Wine Specialist Certificate from George Brown College.