Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Random Recipes does No Croutons Required

This month Random Recipes joined forces with No Croutons Required and challenged us all to made a Random Vegetarian Soup. I was excited since it's no secret that I love soup and have quite a few cookbooks dedicated entirely to the wonderful dish. That being said though, I have to admit that this challenge turned out not to be quite as random as it should have been due to the fact that I just couldn't find a soup that appealed! I blame the awful post-flight cold I had and my taste buds being off but it was harder than I thought it would be to find a vegetarian soup that I hadn't made before (since I wanted it to be slightly random!) that sounded delicious and appealing to someone who was not only jet-lagged but full of a nasty cold. I scoured my 6 soup books and was uninspired (I know!!) so I turned to some of my other books to search out the perfect soup recipe. I finally decided to see what my good friend (I can pretend can't I?!) Jamie Oliver had to offer and found exactly what I was looking for....Pumpkin Rice Laksa! Hearty and filling but full of delicious aromatic flavours bound to cheer me up and rid me of my wrong I was.

Monday was the perfect day to make it since we woke up to 5 inches of snow so I happily stayed warm inside with the fire on and set about chopping and processing the ingredients and building up quite an appetite for it in the process. I adapted it slightly by using butternut squash rather than pumpkin, however it was listed in the ingredients list as a possible substitution so no biggie. I also cut back on the amount of chillies listed (!) so that Wee One could enjoy it as well. Everything was going as planned and it looked and smelt delicious...until I added the rice. In 12 minutes it went from the base of a beautiful aromatic soup to a thick Thai flavoured risotto/ rice pudding dish! Don't get me wrong the end result was deliciously tasty but definitely nothing like the beautiful picture that had accompanied the recipe or what I had been eagerly anticipating and spent days searching for! This Random Recipes challenge was a definite fail! Sorry Jamie! However I refuse to be defeated and so I will make it again just with some more substantial changes......Next time I'm going to miss the rice out completely or if I really want it just add a small handful rather than the 200g on the recipe. I would also cut the coconut milk from 2 cans to 1 and up the amount of stock instead to even it out. The rest however I would keep! I'm convinced with those alterations I would end up with the delicious soup I had been anticipating, so stay tuned for my own version of Jamie's Pumpkin Rice Laksa!

Pumpkin Rice Laksa Soup
{Taken from Jamie's Dinners by Jamie Oliver}

600g/ 1 lb 6oz pumpkin or butternut squash (or other squash of your choice) halved, peeled and deseeded
a small handful of lime leaves
2-3 chillies, deseeded & finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled & finely sliced
2 thumb-sized pieces of fresh ginger, peeled
3 sticks of lemongrass, outer leaves removed
a large handful of fresh coriander, leaves picked, stalks chopped
1 heaped tsp five-spice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
olive oil
1 white onion, peeled & finely sliced
565ml/ 1 pint vegetable (or chicken) stock
200g/ 7oz basmati rice
2 x 400ml tins of coconut milk
salt & freshly ground black pepper
juice of 1 or 2 limes

Chop the pumpkin or squash into 2 inch pieces and set aside. Add the lime leaves, chillies, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, coriander stalks, 5-spice and cumin into the small bowl of a food processor and mix until it is all finely chopped (or if you prefer you could use a mortar and pestle).

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large pan then add the sliced onion and the aromatic mixture and cook gently for roughly 10 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Add the pumpkin and stock to the onion mix and stir everything together, scraping up any stuck bits from the bottom. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and leave to simmer with a lid on for 15 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft. Add the rice and stir well then continue to simmer with the lid on until the rice is cooked. Add the coconut milk and some seasoning and taste to check before adding the lime juice – the amount will depend on how juicy your limes are and your own tastes. Give one last stir then serve straight away sprinkled with the coriander leaves and if you fancy some extra chilli and fresh coconut if you have it.


  1. I don't think its a fail if it still tastes good... maybe just reduce the rice or change the rice variety?... it looks bloody amazing and the recipe sounds perfect... I have a stinky cold now too so this would be wonderful for me... thanks so much for taking part x

  2. There are some very interesting ingredients in this soup, and man it looks amazing, I think it's worth a try!

  3. You can certainly stand your spoon up in that soup! Sometimes those random recipes work out and sometimes they just don't!

  4. Thanks everyone! It is definitely worth trying but just needs tweeking as the flavours are fantastic!

    Janice - you are absolutely right and that was after I added a lot more stock!!!

  5. I love laksa! Pumpkin seems like a totally awesome holiday twist on it :)

  6. The flavours sound excellent but I have to admit that does sound like an awful lot of rice. You never can tell with random recipes.

  7. came over from dom's! those sound liek lovely flavours so i think you shouldn't be disappointed about it! haha just think of it as laksa risotto? or maybe change the rice to rice noodles instead!

  8. I just made this soup over the weekend and I have to say I agree! I wanted to know if anyone had had the same problem as I did....mine wasn't so much with the rice, but when I added the 2 cans of coconut milk it just went incredibly milky and now is quite like spicy rice pudding, not the beautiful orange coloured soup in the book! Perhaps the quantity is wrong? I'd say next time I might make it with sweet potato to give it more flavour and cut down on the coconut milk....


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