This Thai-inspired pumpkin soup uses a seasonal favorite in a new way to support digestion. Pumpkins are amazing vegetables that all too often get carved up on our front stoops but never make it into our kitchens. According to Chinese medicine dietary therapy, pumpkin is considered “warming,” unlike squash, gourds, and related fruit of the Cucurbitaceae family, which are generally considered cooling.
The translation: consider the below recipe "Middle Burner" friendly to your digestive system, meaning the longer-term benefits to your digestive health are many (for a primer on the Middle Burner Diet by DAO Labs, and why you should always "cook your salad, start here).
Pumpkins & Your Qi
Because of their warming nature, pumpkins support digestion and bolster Qi. But Chinese medicine dietary therapy also suggests that they can be effective in reducing pain and swelling, alleviating asthma, soothing burns, and killing parasites (pumpkins seeds are a widely used medicinal in China to eliminate tapeworms).
The "food as medicine" benefits that this simple vegetable offers, underscores the broader power of Chinese dietary therapy, along with the broader benefits of Chinese medicine in general.
Some Culinary Background on This Soup
As readers of my recipes know, soups are my specialties. This time of year, with autumn harvests filling my weekend farmers' markets, I'm able to source fresh produce and herbs, thus transforming my meals into something especially unique.
As I've learned more about the endless benefits of the health-related properties of the ingredients, all through the lens of Chinese dietary therapy and experiencing the transformation to my digestive health firsthand, the time in the kitchen seems to take on a new meaning.
Because pumpkins are also “sweet,” they can be very filling. We have tried to resolve this problem by adding leeks and Thai red curry to the soup. Leeks together with red curry paste, which contains chili peppers, garlic, shallots, and lime zest, add “pungency” to the soup - I love this combination.
The dispersing qualities of these spices not only add complexity to the dominant mellow flavors of this soup, but prevent bloating and abdominal fullness that might occur in other pumpkin dishes.
This particular soup can be saved in the refrigerator and consumed throughout the work week. As I talk about in my recent bone brother recipe, the benefits of the warming ingredients, particularly this time of year, are perfect not just for one's digestive health, but their overall immune systems as well.
Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Flavors of Red Curry, Coconut & Maple for Digestive Happiness
Prep Time & Cook Time
15 minutes / 45 minutes
- 1 ½ C Roasted pumpkin packed
- ½ C Leeks diced
- 2 Ounces Olive oil plus more to brush the pumpkin for roasting
- 12-14 Ounces Vegetable stock
- ½ Teaspoon Red curry paste
- 2 Teaspoons Maple syrup
- ¼ C Coconut milk plus more to finish each serving
- ½ Teaspoon Apple cider vinegar
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Chive to garnish
- Lemon Balm to garnish, we happened to have in the garden, not required.
Cut one or two pumpkins in half, remove the seeds, brush with olive oil and roast at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, depending on size, and remove the skin. Roast the seeds for garnish.
Saute leeks in olive oil until just starting to brown, add roasted pumpkin and vegetable stock and simmer until mixture comes together then use a regular blender or immersion blender to completely puree.
Depending on how much moisture was still in your roasted pumpkin, you may need to adjust the amount of stock. Stir in the red curry paste and maple syrup and adjust heat and sweetness to your liking. Stir in the coconut milk adding more if you prefer it creamier and balance with a touch of apple cider vinegar. Adjust seasoning as desired.
The recipes on The Way are intended as an East meets West look at food and its relationship to health and nutrition. Food is powerful, and every bite can either greatly benefit your system or effectively work against it. In Chinese Medicine, each grain, vegetable, meat, fruit, and spice has unique properties that can be harnessed to help us achieve and maintain balance in our bodies. Our recipes seek to incorporate some of the age-old principles of Chinese medicine into the culinary practices more familiar to the West.