Last night, awash in exhaustion, I made a pumpkin curry soup that has always turned out really great.

This soup is inspired by that one time I ordered soup with my takeout meal and they gave me the soup of the day which was an amazing, spicy, incredibly addictive pumpkin curry soup. I trolled the internet looking for recipes, which I used as a guideline, added some things, ignored some things, and came out with a soup that was perfect the first time and every time I’ve made it since.

I am an extremely slapdash cook. I don’t tend to measure anything, so the only parts of this that are precise are the cans. The rest I just eyeball and taste as I go, but I’m a good eyeballer, so these are probably pretty accurate measurements.

This soup is very rich. It’s great on its own, and is also good over rice, with naan or other flatbread, or with a nice hearty homestyle bread. I ain’t here to tell you how to live your life.

Here’s how to do it:

  • One 15-oz can of Pumpkin Puree. If you start with 15 oz, keep ingredient measurements the same. If you use 30oz, double everything. You’re smart, you can figure this out. Make sure not to get pumpkin pie filling as they are not the same thing. I use Libby’s because my childhood babysitter used to sing us a jingle about it.
  • Canned Coconut Milk, similar amount to pumpkin. These often come in cans of 13-14 oz, which is just fine. I haven’t experimented with low-fat, but I bet it would work just as well.
  • Heavy Cream: Start with about 1/2 cup and add more as needed for texture and flavor. You could probably do half and half, just don’t tell me about it. If you’re vegan, just sub coconut milk.
  • Yellow Onion. About 1/2-1 cup all chopped up, depending on how much you like onions and texture. Chop it up as tiny as you can stand to chop it. I am lazy so I often have bigger pieces, but you want to go small if you can.
  • Pot Lube. You can use 1-2 tablespoons of butter, or any vegetable oil that you like. You don’t need much.
  • Garlic, 1-4 cloves. Garlic cloves vary wildly in size, and you might be trying to ward off vampires, so err on the side of more if that appeals to you. I often use garlic paste in a squeezy tube because of lazy. About 1 tablespoon if you go that route.
  • Ginger. Again, I get this from a tube, but you can finely grate it or whatever works for you. 1-2 tablespoons. I always do closer to 2 because it really does add something to the soup, and you won’t really taste it consciously. Unless you want to. THEN GO NUTS.
  • Thai Red Curry Paste. About a tablespoon. Essential. This is a very different flavor than…
  • Curry powder. I don’t like heavy curry flavors, but a little bit really does make the soup. I add about half a teaspoon and you can add more if you like.
  • Cayenne or other spicy spice (red pepper flakes would work well.) I use this VERY SPARINGLY because a little goes a long way, and the heat intensifies the longer it cooks. Maybe 1/4 teaspoon and then wait awhile to see if you need to add more. It really does get spicier as it cooks into the soup, and I am a wuss.
  • Tumeric, Nutmeg, and Ground Coriander: I add these “to taste” later in the soup process. You can also add a bit of cardamom or whatever strikes your fancy. All of these will have a big impact if you add too much, so start with about 1/2 teaspoon, stir, wait, and see if it needs more. You really don’t want to be able to taste it. They’re to add dimension, not actual discernible flavor.
  • Salt and Pepper: Again, to taste. Do this after you add the cream.
  1. Heat up your soup pot to medium. Add butter. You can add the Butter before heating it up, I don’t care. Wait until butter is fully melted and sizzly (or in the case of oil, whenever it’s hot).
  2. Add finely chopped Onions and sauté until they’re translucent and starting to brown a bit at the edges. Turn down the heat to medium-low.
  3. Add Garlic, Ginger, and Red Curry Paste. Continue to stir over medium-low heat, being careful not to burn the garlic. Do this for about a minute, just to get everything warm and fragrant.
  4. Take your cans of Pumpkin Puree and Coconut Milk and pour them into the pot. A spatula will help you get everything out. Stir stir stir.
  5. Add about a half cup of Heavy Cream. This will make it more soupy and less pasty. You should keep it around for later in case you want to thin out the soup or if you add too much of any of the spices and want to scale it back a bit.
  6. Add Curry Powder. This is the point where you should start tasting the soup. If you taste it before you add the curry powder it’s sort of bland and icky.
  7. Add your Cayenne. Remember to start with just a leeeeetle bit, you can always add more later, but that it gets spicier the longer it cooks. This is the most frequent mistake I make.
  8. While the soup is cooking and getting to know itself through intense self-reflection, search your spice cabinet for anything you think might help the soup taste awesome. This is when you can add Tumeric, Nutmeg, Coriander, whatever. You want to add things that accentuate the pumpkin flavor but also add to the curry goodness. Go light and add more if needed. I’d stay away from cinnamon. Onion and/or garlic powder are often things I toss in because I feel like it.
  9. Add salt and pepper, then let the heat do its work for about 5 minutes, stirring every minute or so.
  10. Taste! Is it spicy enough? Does it need anything? PLAY JAZZ.
  11. If it tastes as awesome as it should, ladle into bowls and eat.

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