It’s full of zingy spice, just the thing to perk up a wintry evening.
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- small bunch of spring onions (scallions), finely sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 5-cm/2-in piece of fresh ginger, chopped
- 1–2 fiery chillies, finely chopped
- 2 stalks of lemongrass, outer leaves removed and remainder finely sliced
- 225 g/8 oz/generous 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
- 500 g/1 lb 2 oz pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 2 cm/3⁄4 inch dice
- 1.2 litres/2 pints/5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 400 g/14 oz can of coconut milk
- 1 tbsp tamarind paste
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
- Thai fish sauce or tamari soy sauce
- juice of 1–2 limes
- pinch of brown sugar or palm sugar (optional)
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add most of the spring onions (setting aside a tablespoon to garnish). Add the garlic, ginger, chilli and lemongrass and stir for a minute or two, until you are engulfed in fabulous smells. You will be wheezing if you have been generous with the chilli!
- Add the lentils, pumpkin or squash and the stock, and simmer until the lentils are soft and the pumpkin flesh has collapsed.
- Stir in the coconut milk, tamarind and most of the coriander. Now taste and balance the soup with fish sauce or soy sauce, lime juice and sugar.
- Serve hot, sprinkled with the remaining spring onions and coriander.