Roast pumpkin soup with Thai flavours and young coconut

Roast pumpkin soup with Thai flavours and young coconut.
Roast pumpkin soup with Thai flavours and young coconut. Photo: Marcel Aucar
Dietary
Dairy-free

This Thai-inspired soup is loaded with intense and exotic flavours. It makes a perfect entree as is, or you could dress it up with some pan-seared prawns or picked crabmeat. The prawn floss adds a salty, fishy element and is a great contrast to the sweet and rich flavours. If you find dried shrimp a bit intense, toasted glutinous rice pounded into a rough powder adds a nutty note and a nice textural crunch. Otherwise, use fried shallots.

Ingredients

½ large Kent pumpkin (2.5kg), cut in half, deseeded

3 red onions, peeled and cut into large chunks

extra-virgin olive oil

salt flakes

40ml virgin coconut oil (if solid, use 1 tbsp, heaped)

4 cloves garlic, finely sliced

3 bullet chillies, finely sliced

3 tbsp high quality tom yum paste

2 tbsp fish sauce

1 litre coconut water

600ml water

1½ tbsp grated palm sugar

1 lime, juiced

young coconut, flesh removed (optional)

½ bunch coriander, picked

150ml coconut cream

prawn floss for garnish (optional - see tips at bottom of method)

Method

1. Preheat your oven to 160C fan-forced or 180C conventional.

2. Rub the pumpkin and onion with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast for one hour, or until cooked. Scoop out the pumpkin flesh once cool enough to handle.

3. In a wide-based pot, add the coconut oil, roasted onions, garlic and chilli and cook for three minutes, stirring. Add the tom yum paste and cook for a further minute. Add the pumpkin flesh, fish sauce, coconut water, water and sugar, bring to the simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

4. Add the lime juice and puree with a stick blender. Adjust the seasoning to taste with a little more fish sauce, if needed. Serve with pieces of young coconut flesh (if using), coriander leaves, a drizzle of coconut cream and a sprinkling of prawn floss.

Tips:

1. To make prawn floss, pound out some dried shrimp in a mortar, or blend, until powdery.

2. This soup freezes well. Once reheated, check the seasoning and freshen with some lime juice.

3. High-quality vacuum-packed crabmeat is available at many fishmongers. Simply drain, gently warm through and serve on the soup.