Something odd has happened lately: all I want to eat is Asian influenced dishes. Growing up in Vancouver this isn’t wildly surprising since examples of excellent food from every imaginable Asian locale is available. I have sushi on the regular, I frequent a hole in the wall Thai place but usually, especially at this time of year, I’m roasting hunks of meat and root vegetables, basting and braising and using more rosemary than seems sane. For whatever reason, maybe the chilly, foggy, damp-to-soaking weather, my palate is all about the hot, sweet, salty, sour of Asian cuisine. When I say Asian, I say that broadly. And loosely. I am not home every night clarifying long-simmered beef broth for painfully authentic pho or learning the art of the perfect dumpling. Instead, I am using all the condiments and shortcuts in my fridge and pantry to pull together some quick and pleasing meals that are warm and comforting, as the season demands, but still scintillating in the sense that they aren’t just roast chicken and potatoes … again. This Pumpkin Coconut Soup in particular is nice because it can be decorated and garnished with so many different additions that only your bowl will be your bowl. Enjoy!
Pumpkin Coconut Soup
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large white onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp caraway seeds
2 Tbsp ground ginger
1 small chili (optional)
2 large cans of pumpkin puree, about 4 cups
1 can coconut milk
juice of a lime
4-6 cups of water (depending on the consistency you desire)
In a large pot, saute the onion, garlic and spices until the onions are softened and fragrant.
Add the pumpkin, stirring until it darkens slightly. Add the coconut milk, stirring well. Add the lime and water or stock. Bring to a gentle boil, turn down to a simmer. The flavors fully develop after about an hour of simmering but you could eat it straight away. You may reduce it, or alternatively, add more stock to reach your desired consistency. For a more velvety texture, puree the soup with an immersion blender, or standard blender.
Serve hot, garnished with cilantro, fresh lime wedges, more chili, peanuts – whatever you wish! A dollop of Greek yogurt is nice too.