The change of seasons just makes me want to cook hale and hearty food, even though the temperature is still mild.  My sister gave me a huge Japanese Pumpkin and I just knew that I had to come up with a variation of Pumpkin Soup.  Jap pumpkins can be soft and lacking a little substance, even though they pack a major flavour punch in the pumpkin family.  Add a cup of red lentils to the mix and a few spices and you have yourself a totally winning combo.  To really kick this Spiced Pumpkin Soup up a few pegs, I made a fresh and punchy pesto/sambal of Coriander, Cashews, Coconut, Chilli & Lime.  I even went a little Pro Hart on the garnish but this is because I am really only satisfied when food is taken to the next level.  Why settle for anything less?

I made the yummiest Homemade Yoghurt Flatbreads to go with this soup.  I highly recommend.

Prep time:  25  Minutes

Cooking time: 1 Hour

$$ Medium Budget

Serves 6

To make the Spiced Pumpkin Soup:

Coconut oil for frying

800gm of Jap pumpkin, deseeded, peeled and cut into chunks

4 garlic cloves, minced

3cm of ginger, finely grated or chopped

2 sprigs of curry leaves, leaves removed and stalks discarded*

2 tsp of cumin seeds

2 tsp of coriander seeds

11/2 tsp of yellow mustard seeds

1/2 tsp of cardamom seeds

2 tsp of ground turmeric

1 tsp of chilli powder

1 large brown onion, diced

1 cup of red lentils, rinsed and drained

1.25 litres of chicken stock

400gm tin of diced tomatoes

400ml of coconut cream (100ml reserved for garnish)

Juice of 1 lime

11/2 tbs of runny honey

Sea salt and cracked pepper

Crispy curry leaves (you can do this by shallow frying the leaves in a little coconut oil in a small saucepan, they really add beautiful texture and flavour)

Coconut cream and chilli oil to serve

Homemade Yoghurt Flatbreads to serve

For the Pesto:

1 bunch of coriander, roots removed, stems and leaves washed and roughly chopped

1/2 a cup of raw cashews

1/4 a cup of desiccated coconut

1 long red chilli, roughly chopped

1/3 cup of coconut oil

Juice of 1/2 a lime

A sprinkle of sea salt

To prepare the Spiced Pumpkin Soup, heat a large, heavy based soup pot and add a little oil.  Fry the onion until soft and then add the ginger, garlic and whole spices.  When the mustard seeds start to pop, add the curry leaves, turmeric and chilli and fry for a minute or so before pouring in the stock, tomatoes, lentils and the pumpkin chunks.  Squeeze in the lime and honey and season generously with salt and pepper.  Stir well and allow to come to a simmer for 45 minutes with the lid on, stirring occasionally.

While the Spiced Pumpkin Soup is bubbling away, place the coriander, cashews, coconut, chilli, lime juice, coconut oil and sea salt in a blender and blitz until you have a fine paste.  Set aside until you are ready to serve.

When the pumpkin is tender and the lentils are completely soft, use a stick blender to blend the soup until smooth.  You will still get little pops of spicy flavour from the whole spices but this just adds to the next level Spiced Pumpkin Soup experience.  Pour in the coconut cream and stir to combine.  This is when I like to have a taste and adjust any seasoning…….salt, pepper, lime juice or honey.  It should have a beautiful balance of flavours.

To serve, ladle the soup into large bowls, it should be lovely and thick.  Drizzle over the remaining coconut cream, a little chilli oil and top with the pesto and crispy fried curry leaves and serve with Homemade Yoghurt Flatbreads or other bread of your choice.

I love to use Curry Leaves in a lot of my curries, but they often have too many in the punnet.  Do not worry as they freeze really well in a zip lock bag for later use.

Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that are at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.