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A warming soup for those cold October evenings, from our Nutritionist, Nicky Seabrook
October 13th, 2021
Pumpkin Rice Laksa Soup
by Jamie Oliver
Halloween is around the corner. Here is a lovely warming soup which you can serve in a large pumpkin to your friends.
600g pumpkin, butternut squash, onion squash or acorn squash halved, peeled and deseeded
A small handful of lime leaves
2 -3 chillies deseeded and finely sliced
2 cloves garlic peeled and finely sliced
2 thumb sized pieces of fresh ginger, peeled
3 sticks lemon grass (outer leaves removed)
A large handful of fresh coriander (leaves picked, stalks chopped)
1 heaped tsp five spice
1 tsp cumin
1 white onion, finely sliced
1 pint chicken or vegetable stock
200g basmati rice
2x 400ml tins coconut milk
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Juice of I – 2 limes
Optional: 1 fresh red chilli sliced and fresh coconut grated
First you need to chop the pumpkin flesh into 5cm pieces. To make your fragrant soup base, first chop then whizz or bash up the following in your food processor or pestle and mortar until you have a pulpy mix: the lime leaves, chillies, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, coriander stalks, five spice and cumin. Remove any stringy bits that remain in the pulp. Put this fragrant mixture into a high sided pan with a little oil and your finely sliced onion and cook gently for about 10 minutes to release the flavours.
Add the pumpkin and the stock to the pan. Stir around, scraping all the goodness off the bottom of the pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer with the lid on for about 15 minutes until the pumpkin is soft. At this point, add the rice and give it a really good stir. Some of the pumpkin will begin to mush up but you’ll also have some chunks. Continue to simmer with the lid on until the rice is cooked, then off comes the lid. Add the coconut milk, stir again, taste and season carefully with salt and pepper. To give it a bit of sharpness add the lime juice – the amount will depend on how juicy your limes are, but the idea is to give the soup a little twang.
Serve the soup in warmed bowls or pour it back into the pumpkin shell. If you’re going to do this, put the pumpkin shell into the oven to warm it through first. It’s a great show stopper for dinner parties. Finish sprinkled with the coriander leaves or some extra sliced fresh chilli or grated coconut.
For anyone with a dairy intolerance or allergy, coconut milk is a great ingredient to use in dishes. It adds texture and a creaminess and is a healthy alternative to cow’s milk. Coconut milk contains saturated fat and so many people wonder whether it is suitable if they have a high cholesterol level or heart condition. There is very little research looking at coconut milk specifically, but one study suggests that it may benefit people with normal or high cholesterol levels. An eight week study found that 60 men who were consuming coconut milk porridge had lowered “bad” LDL cholesterol levels compared to those eating soy milk porridge and better “good” HDL cholesterol levels.
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