This year I finally became a declared soup addict. Since the beginning of Fall, I’ve been playing with seasonal flavors, making a large pot of some kind of savory herb with root veggie or dark leafy green + lentil soup.
Winter is the season when we go inward and nature is ready to nurture us. Due to the digestive level being very high, we feel hungrier, and can actually digest food better in winter, thus nourishing our bodies more. Winter is often misunderstood for being the season of poor immunity and bad habits when we start eating more junk food and heavy, hard-to-digest foods, and thus weaken our immunity. It’s helpful to understand that we have a huge role in creating the bad immunity; winter alone, is not the culprit. For this reason, it's vital to eat immunity-boosting foods this time of year, and to follow an ayurvedic daily routine of self massage with Vata Oil. More details on daily self care routines coming up in next month. But for now, know this- This your must have winter routine should include getting more rest and eating well — to nourish the mind and body.
And so, my refrigerator is overflowing with all sorts of homemade soup this season but this doesn’t mean that I’m at the stove 24/7. In fact, making the soups in batches assures that I will be warm and nourished throughout the darkest and coldest months of the year without having the urge to go for the quick fix foods (crackers + bread) that often leave me feeling hungry, cold and cranky. Plus, having some soup ready to go in the depths of a snowy winter, I can have a super tasty bowl of soup for lunch and not have to think about braving the cold elements.
Foods that nourish and balance the body in the cold, dry, winter season are the sweet, sour and salty tastes like this soup. It's best to eat less of the astringent, bitter, and pungent tastes in winter like salads, sprouts, citrus. Warm, home-cooked, warming foods are ideal, like this soup. Essentially, when it’s cold outside, avoid cold or ice-cold foods, as cold foods and drinks extinguish the digestive fire.
Lifestyle also impacts immunity. Staying up late, working at night, eating at irregular times, exposing the body to stress and fatigue, and sleeping during the day can all affect the digestion and body rhythms — and thus compromise the immune system. That's why it's important to follow the ayurvedic daily routine with Vata Oil, to keep the digestive system and other bodily rhythms working smoothly, and thus keeping the immunity high.
Winter is a more inward season, when nature is at rest and everything has gone to sleep, LISTEN to the rhythm and take advantage of this natural tendency by giving the mind and body extra nourishment in winter.
THE SECRET TO SPICY WINTER PUMPKIN SOUP
I immediately fell in love with this Spicy Winter Pumpkin Soup which I’ve eaten about 20 variations of throughout this winter because it’s the yummiest pumpkin soup I’ve ever tasted! After tasting, making notes, and tasting some more with different pumpkins and squashes that I picked up from my local farm delivery service Agricultural Connections, I hit the taste, texture and spice trifecta by adding just the right amount of curry and onions to provide a complexity of flavors that will please crowds of all ages. Even my seven year old who is not particularly fond of squash (after feeding him too much when he was a baby) loved the slight edge the curry provided.
- 1 Kabocha Squash, seeded and cubed 1 in chunks
- 1⁄2 small yellow onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 (2 inch piece) fresh ginger minced
- Himalayan Pink Salt
- 2 tbsp thai red curry paste
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 1 can lite coconut milk (for texture)
- 3 cups boiling filtered water
Heat the coconut oil in a large soup pot or dutch oven and saute the onion with a pinch of sea salt until it starts to sweat.
Add the kabocha squash, both cans of coconut milk, the red Thai curry paste, 1⁄8 tsp sea salt, and just enough water to cover the vegetables.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for about 20-20 minutes or until squash is tender enough to pierce with a fork.
Transfer the soup to a high powered blender ( you might need to do this in batches(> Start blending at a low speed, gradually increasing to high, and blend until smooth and creamy.
Taste for seasoning and add more sea salt or thai spice if desired.
Makes 4-6 servings