Pumpkin, Coconut and Lemongrass Soup with Cod


Preparation info

  • Serves


    as a hearty starter
    • Difficulty


Appears in

A World in My Kitchen

A World in My Kitchen

By Peter Gordon

Published 2003

  • About

A truly delicious mixture of textures and flavours. Sort of South-East Asian in origin but served with a meaty white fish — here I use New Zealand’s delicious blue cod. You can use any fish that is at its best at the time.


  • 3 tablespoons light cooking oil
  • 2 large onions, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 600 g (1 lb 3 ½ oz) peeled pumpkin, diced
  • 2 lemongrass stems
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron or ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste or pomegranate molasses
  • 400 ml (13 ⅔ fl oz) unsweetened coconut milk
  • 700 ml (1 ⅓ pints) water
  • 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
  • 300 g (10 ½ oz) cod fillet, skinned and cut into thick slices
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter freshly ground black peppers


    Heat oil in a deep saucepan. Add onions and garlic and cook until wilted but not coloured. Add pumpkin, lemongrass (use only the bottom 8 cm/3 in, cut off the base, remove the outer two layers and discard, then finely slice the inside), saffron, tamarind paste, coconut milk, water and Thai fish sauce and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer 40 minutes. Purée in a blender – you may need to do this in batches. Return to pot and bring back to a simmer and check seasoning.

    Place cod, cornflour and salt in a small plastic bag and shake to coat fish. Heat butter in a frying pan. When it turns brown, add fish pieces and fry for 30 seconds each side or until cooked through.

    To serve, ladle soup into shallow bowls and place fish pieces on top. Grind on some black pepper.