Saturday, October 16, 2010
Thai Curry Pumpkin
It's autumn in North America and that means that it's pumpkin time. Most of the Americans I know treat pumpkins as Halloween decorations. If it's eaten at all, it is as pie filling from a can. I feel like shouting from the rooftops, "Pumpkin is FOOD!" Wonderful food, too.
My CSA has a pumpkin patch with several varieties of pumpkins that I've been free to pick for the past several weeks. In the photo, you see 2 of them. The one on the left is a Blue Hubbard squash (did you know that pumpkins are squash?) and on the right is a variety called Long Island Cheese. Both are known for being really good to eat.
I wish you could smell this soup. It's so fragrant and rich.
I started this afternoon by cutting open a big Long Island Cheese pumpkin and roasting it in my oven. My oven is so small and the pumpkin was so big that I had to do it one-half at a time. I put it cut side down in a baking dish with a little water and baked it at 350 until I could poke a fork into it easily. I pulled it out of the oven, turned it over, scooped out the flesh and put it in a mixing bowl where I smashed it up with a potato masher.
By the way, I also scooped out the seeds, separated them from the inside goop, washed them, tossed them with some Adobo seasoning and cayenne pepper and toasted them in the oven for about 8 min while the squash was baking - an excellent and healthy snack.
For the soup, I chopped up 4 cloves of garlic and 4 small onions and caramelized them over pretty high heat in the bottom of my soup pot in some olive oil. I had some sweet red peppers so I cut them up and when the onions were pretty brown I through them in to saute a bit too. So far, everything has been locally-grown, organic produce from my CSA.
There was some good oniony stuff stuck to the bottom of the pan so I added just a little water, stirred it around and then added some more water. In went the pumpkin and a can of coconut milk, & a rough tablespoon of Thai green curry paste. I shop a lot at my local Asian market. I've never lived in a town that hasn't had at least one, even when I was growing up Kansas, so chances are good that there is one near where you live too.
At this stage, I tasted the soup and it was a little too spicy, but the pot was only half full so by the time the rest of it was filled up it would be just about right for most people.
I knew I needed to add some water, but I wanted to bulk up the soup a bit and add some interesting texture to it. So I heated up a couple of cups of water and then threw in a couple of packets of bean thread noodles to let them hydrate. Bean thread noodles, also know as cellophane noodles, are great for soup because they can sit in hot liquid for a long time and not get mushy. They are made from mung beans so people on wheat-free diets can eat them. Also they are fun to eat because you can see through them. After they were hydrated, I drained the water and chopped them up.
The soup was close to ready, but when I tasted it, it needed a bit of saltiness and a bit of tang. Because this I'm using Thai seasonings, I departed from my usual vegan ingredients and added a healthy shot of Thai fish sauce and a squeeze of lemon.
Tastes great. I thought about adding a bit of peanut butter to add richness, but I was a little concerned that it would overpower the other flavors, so I dished up a small bowl of soup for myself and stirred in a spoonful of peanut butter. Sure enough, too much. It was a good call to stop when I did.
Before it goes into the fridge to go to meeting tomorrow morning, there's some yummy pumpkin soup for me for dinner (with extra hot peppers) and I have enough pumpkin left over to make a pie tomorrow.