Thai-inspired, creamy pumpkin soup
Lentils require no soaking at all. Split lentils will cook in little over 20 mins, while whole lentils will take closer to 40 mins. A cooked lentil should feel soft and creamy rather than granular when you squash it between your thumb and forefinger. Learn more about lentils in the article that inspired this dish.
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small bunch of spring onions, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 little finger root ginger, chopped
1-2 fiery chillis, chopped finely
2 stalks of lemon grass, outer leaves removed and remainder finely sliced
225g red lentils, rinsed
500g pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2cm dice
1.2l vegetable or chicken stock
1 x 400g tin of coconut milk
1 tbsp tamarind puree
2 tbsp coriander, finely chopped
Thai fish sauce or Tamari soy sauce
Juice of 1-2 limes
A pinch of brown sugar or palm sugar
Optional extra chilli
Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan and fry the onions (keeping 1 tbsp back for garnish), garlic, ginger, chilli and lemon grass for a moment or two, until you are engulfed in fabulous smells. You will be wheezing right now if you have been generous with the chilli!
Add the lentils, pumpkin or squash and the stock and simmer until the lentils have softened and the pumpkin flesh has collapsed. You can blitz the soup now with a blender if you’d like it smooth. I like to take a few chunks of squash out of the pan to chop up and use as a garnish later.
Stir in the coconut milk and tamarind puree, along with most of the coriander. Now balance the soup adding soy sauce, lime juice and sugar to taste.
Serve with the remaining spring onions, coriander and extra chilli if you like it hot.
ALTERNATIVE: Thin the soup with a little extra stock or water and add some sugar snap peas for the last 2 mins of cooking. Serve with noodles or rice to really make a meal out of it.
Recipe: Jenny Chandler