Warm and spicy, this soup is a perfect fall dinner with a delicious Thai twist. Serves 6.
- 1 small pie pumpkin
- 1/2 bulb celeriac
- 2 T butter (or use coconut oil to make vegan)
- 1 to 2 T Thai red curry paste (mae ploy)
- 2 t coriander seeds freshly ground
- 2 t green cardamom pods smashed
- 2 leeks finely sliced
- 2 celery ribs finely sliced
- 14-oz can full-fat coconut milk
- 4 c stock vegetable or chicken: preferably homemade
- 2 lemongrass stalks chopped
- 1 kaffir lime leaf or 1 lime zested & juiced
- 2 T fish sauce (nam pla) omit if making vegetarian
- 1 Thai red chili (prik chi fa) fresh or dried
- garnish cilantro
Peel the pumpkin, cut in half, and scoop out the seeds, then cut into large chunks. Do the same with the celeriac. Put both vegetables in a steamer with a bit of water and steam until tender, about 30-45 minutes. Meanwhile, put the coconut milk, sliced kaffir lime leaf, and chopped lemongrass into a small saucepan. Simmer 10 minutes until flavors are infused, then leave to sit until ready to use.
Melt the butter in a soup pot or dutch oven, add the sliced leeks and sauté until soft. Add the curry paste, fresh chili, coriander, and smashed cardamom pods. Raise the heat a touch and fry until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Strain the squash/celeriac and add it to the mixture along with the chicken broth. Continue to cook until the squash is fall apart tender. Strain the coconut milk and add that as well, along with the fish sauce. Blend the soup in a blender or Vitamix, then return to the pot, season with salt and freshly ground pepper, garnish with fresh cilantro, and serve.
Note: Unfortunately, all the organic coconut milk brands we could find have guar gum (a thickener and emulsifier), which affects the flavor of the milk and can cause the consistency to turn gummy, especially on the second day. We like Natural Value, even though it’s not organic, because it doesn’t have any guar gum or preservatives (Cooks Illustrated rated the Chaokoh brand highest for taste and flavor, but this brand like most of the Thai-made brands contains preservatives). Also, don’t buy “light” coconut milk — it’s just regular coconut milk cut with water, which you’re paying for. Instead, scale up your recipe to use the full can and enjoy this healthy fat!