A New Pumpkin Laksa for a Cold Night



  1. pumpkin, unskinned 12 ounces (350g)
  2. cilantro and mint leaves, to finish
  3. red birds eye chiles 3 or 4
  4. garlic 2 cloves
  5. ginger a thumb-sized lump
  6. lemongrass 2 plump stalks
  7. cilantro stems 5 or 6
  8. cilantro leaves a handful
  9. sesame oil 2 tablespoons
  10. chicken or vegetable stock 2 1/2 cups (600ml)
  11. coconut milk 1 3/4 cups (400ml)
  12. nam pla (Thai fish sauce) 2 tablespoons
  13. tamari 1 to 2 tablespoons, to taste
  14. the juice of a lime
  15. dried noodles 3 1/2 ounces (100g), cooked as it says on the packet, then drained


  1. Peel and seed the pumpkin and cut the flesh into large chunks.
  2. Cook in a steamer or in a metal colander balanced over a pan of boiling water until tender.
  3. Remove from the heat.
  4. For the spice paste, remove the stems from the chiles, peel the garlic, and peel and roughly chop the ginger and lemongrass.
  5. Put them all into a food processor with the cilantro stems and leaves and the sesame oil and blitz until you have a rough paste.
  6. Get a large, deep pan hot and add the spice paste.
  7. Fry for a minute, then stir in the stock and coconut milk and bring to a boil.
  8. Let simmer for seven to ten minutes, then stir in the nam pla, tamari, lime juice, pumpkin, and the cooked and drained noodles.
  9. Simmer briefly, add the cilantro and mint leaves over the top, and serve in deep bowls.