I’ve never been one to get excited about Valentine’s Day. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a true romantic at heart, but why would I need a special day to celebrate how much I love my husband? I never go to bed at night without telling Jon how much I love him, and I’ve tried to make every day as special as I can for the past two years that we’ve been together. I don’t need February 14th to remind me how lucky I am to share my life with such a perfect man, but I chose to make this Valentine’s Day special because it was the first one we spent together as a married couple. I didn’t come up with a menu full of aphrodisiac ingredients or one with fancy names that I can barely pronounce. Instead, I chose to work with an ingredient that reminds me of our magnificent honeymoon spent in Thailand: coconut milk.
I’ve mentioned before how much I love coconut in all of its forms when I shared this recipe with you for coconut macaroons, so you can imagine how happy I was to indulge in coconut-infused dishes when we were honeymooning in Thailand! Coconut milk is a staple ingredient in so many Thai dishes, ranging from soups and fish to meat and poultry. I love cooking with coconut milk for so many reasons besides its amazing flavor — it sweetens dishes without requiring any sugar, renders meat, fish and poultry so tender and gives soup a creaminess like no other.
For Valentine’s Day, I decided to surprise Jon with a Thai twist on his favorite pumpkin soup. This pumpkin coconut soup is the result of combining different pumpkin soup recipes to come up with a version infused with the scent and flavor of coconut milk. I first sautéed onion and garlic to give the soup a pungent, smokey taste, then added chopped pumpkin and potatoes and simmered them all in vegetable broth for 30 minutes until tender. Without the potatoes, I find that pumpkin soup is too liquid so I always add them to give my soups a thicker consistency. I only add the coconut milk at the end of the cooking process to give my soup extra creaminess and an amazing taste. I topped the soup with toasted almonds to bring crunchiness, and the combination of soft and crispy is to die for. The nutty flavor of almonds bring out the fuméed taste of the onions and garlic and tones down a bit the sweetness of coconut milk without killing its flavor.
Have you ever tried combining pumpkin with coconut milk? You should. I can’t describe how marvellous it is. I’ll never forget how Jon’s eyes lit up with amazement as he took his first sip from this pumpkin coconut soup. He was so happy and so was I, there’s nothing that makes me happier than seeing Jon smile.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 570g chopped pumpkin
- 250g potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- ½ cup coconut milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons slivered almonds
- Heat olive oil on medium heat in a large saucepan. Sauté the onion and garlic until fragrant and soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the pumpkin and potatoes, cover with vegetable stock and bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes until the pumpkin and potatoes are soft.
- Meanwhile, toast almonds in a small saucepan. Set aside when ready.
- Purée with a handheld blender. Add the coconut milk and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 7 to 10 minutes until the soup thickens. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve soup in bowls and top with toasted almonds.
How did your pumpkin coconut soup come out? Share photos of your recipe on Instagram by tagging #savormania