Let's Cook with Meg and Ted

Indian-spiced pumpkin soup with coconut sambal

In a season when the British food magazines are full of recipes for "Over-boiled swedes, or how to induce suicide through food alone", it's refreshing to cook a recipe from Australian Gourmet Traveller's Winter Recipes mini-book from 2001. Winter food that comforts through flavour and spice, rather than gluggy heft: radical. When we made this, Ted and I couldn't stop exclaiming about how good it was throughout the meal. It enthused me to start cooking new things more, after a few months of making the same few meals over and over, because it reminded me of what pleasure new food discoveries can bring.

As ever, it's worthwhile grinding your own spices for this if you can get them - they are much more aromatic and will make your kitchen smell wonderful for an hour or so afterwards. If anyone knows of a pumpkin with as much flavour as a butternut, well feel free to use it here, and please please email me about it, because all the other types of pumpkins I have tried, the beautifully coloured, wrinkly, autumnal-looking ones, have tasted like water. Remember to get one that will give you 750 g of flesh - depending on type and shape of pumpkin you may have to get as much as twice that weight of whole pumpkin. Finally, I have reduced the amount of sambal here to half of what was specified in the orginal recipe, and I think it will still be more than needed. Of course, you could sit down and eat any left over with a spoon, which I would never do, oh no.

2 teaspoonscoriander seeds
1 teaspooncumin seeds
seeds from 10cardamom pods
1/3 cupolive oil, approximately
750 gpeeled and seeded butternut pumpkin, chopped into 2 cm pieces
1onion, chopped
4 clovesgarlic, chopped
2.5 cm piecefresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3fresh, small red chillies, seeded and finely chopped
750 mlwater or light vegetable stock
1cinnamon stick
1 tablespoontamarind paste

40 g (1/2 cup)coconut cream
1fresh, small green chilli, seeded and chopped
50 g (1/4 cup)caster sugar
15 gunsalted, dry roasted peanuts
1/3 cupplain yoghurt
1/6 cupchopped coriander

Place the coriander, cumin and cardamom seeds in a small frypan and dry-roast over medium heat until fragrant and lightly browned, then grind in a mortar and pestle. Transfer the spice mixture to a small bowl and add about half the olive oil and mix well. Place the chopped pumpkin in a roasting pan, toss thoroughly with the spice mixture, then roast at 220C for 30 minutes or until soft and golden.

Heat the remaining oil in a large saucepan, add onion, and stir over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and cook for another 5 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the roast pumpkin, stock or water, cinnamon stick and tamarind paste. Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick, then blend soup in a food processor until smooth. Return to the saucepan, season to taste, and return to a simmer before ladling into bowls and serving with a big spoonful of sambal.

To make the sambal, process the coconut, chilli, sugar and peanuts in a food processor until fairly smooth, then add the yoghurt and coriander and mix until well combined.

Serves 4, as a light meal or starter.

7 December 2002

Recipe categories

Recent additions

Search www.woolfit.com

Email me