Pumpkins here; pumpkins there; pumpkins every blimmin’ where! Last year I created a wonderful Thai style pumpkin soup and my husband loved it. He loved it so much that last spring he planted 5 varieties of pumpkin in every spare space he had in the vegetable garden; now we are harvesting them all. I swear there is an orange glow when I close my eyes!
I had planned over the coming weeks to do a series of side dishes to accompany your main meals, but this week we will deviate off the plan slightly to talk pumpkins.
Pumpkins are really easy to grow. When you find one you like, save some of the seed and plant next year. The best way to do that is to clean all the membrane off the seed, put them on a piece of paper towel on the windowsill to dry. Once dry, put the seeds in an envelope marked “pumpkin” and put that in the fridge until August; in August you can plant your seeds and grow them inside, ready to plant out in October (they are frost sensitive so cover up in a frost). You can use that same process with almost any vegetable or herb.
For more information check out our planting guide: http://www.thewildcook.co.nz/vegetable-planting-guide
I digress! Now, back to eating pumpkin. Pumpkins are absolutely jam packed with Vitamin A; so much so that one serving (around 245gms) gives you 245% of your recommended daily intake from only 49 calories. You need Vitamin A for growth, for supporting your immune system, for good eye health and cellular health.
Food like pumpkin is especially important for vegetarians to prevent night blindness. Pumpkin is also a source of calcium, magnesium, potassium and fibre. It is a nutritious, delicious and versatile vegetable which is super easy to grow and freezes well, too.
Kia makona, Mawera Karetai x
Thai Flavoured Roasted Pumpkin Soup
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, grated
1.5 kg butternut pumpkin, cut in half and roasted
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbs ginger, chopped or grated
1 bunch coriander leaves, chopped roughly
1 litre chicken stock (vegetable stock is fine for vegetarians
400ml coconut milk
1. Cut your pumpkin length ways and scoop out seeds (do not discard)
2. Place on a baking tray and roast skin side down at 180C for around 40 minutes, until soft. Remove from oven and allow to cool before removing skin.
3. Clean your pumpkin seeds and place on your baking tray with a little oil. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes until crunchy. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
4. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat a little oil before adding the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion becomes translucent.
5. Add the ground coriander, cumin, fresh ginger and cook, stirring until aromatic.
6. Add the pumpkin and coat in the spices before adding the stock. Bring to the boil.
7. Reduce heat to low and simmer and stir occasionally. Cook for 30 minutes or until the pumpkin is falling apart. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
8. Add most of the chopped coriander leaves to the slightly cooled soup, but reserve some to garnish the soup. Pour the soup into a blender and blend until smooth, or use a hand wand to blend.
9. Return to a clean saucepan (if using a blender) and add the coconut milk (coconut cream is even yummier) according to your tastes and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve garnished with fresh coriander and even a sprinkle of freshly roasted pumpkin seeds.