Vietnamese Pumpkin Soup

About a half mile from my home is a place called Restaurant BT.  It is a true foodie delight! During my employed days & living in Tampa I could be found sitting at the bar at least once a week having a wonderful dinner.  Personally I don’t think this town really appreciates or gets the uniqueness of BT’s cooking.  Tampa is more of a Hooter’s or TGIF kind of dining town.  I picture Restuarant BT being in some trendy NY neighborhood, open late with a local fan following. None the less, I do feel blessed that I have had the opportunity to dine here on more than one occasion. One of the first dishes I had was the vegetarian pumpkin soup.  I remember thinking after the first bite, “Wow, now we’re talking.” My mother and I jotted down the ingredients and planned on replicating it back home.  Let’s just say, that first attempt landed the whole batch in the garbage.  It was so disgusting.  Every time I went into Restaurant BT I would ask the waiter how the chef made it and ALWAYS got a different answer.  My friend Lou begged me to find out how to make it and after a year of multiple attempts, ordering take out containers to go and dissecting every sip, I think I have come close.  BT’s soup is what I call near perfection.  So enjoy this one, but if you go there be sure to order the real deal.  You won’t be disappointed!
Vietnamese Pumpkin  Soup

2-3 tbsp olive oil
2 cups peeled and cubed pumpkin (see note)
2 cups peeled and cubed sweet potato
2 cups coconut milk (see note)
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup Crimini mushrooms, sliced
3 shallots, minced
1/2 cup RAW peanuts, soaked in warm water
1 tsp. sugar (or more to taste)
Salt to taste
Fresh Cilantro leaves
Fried Shallots
(1) In a deep saucepan, heat olive oil to medium heat.  Saute pumpkin and sweet potato until almost tender.  Add shallots and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
(2) Add coconut milk and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Cook for about 10 minutes until pumpkin and sweet potato are cooked through.
(3) Add mushrooms.  Reduce heat and simmer until mushrooms are cooked.  Approximately another 10 minutes.
(4) Add raw soaked peanuts.  Bring to a boil again, then remove from the heat.
(5) Season with salt and sugar to taste.
(6) Serve garnished with fresh cilantro leaves and fried shallots.
*Pumpkin is usually found in Asian markets.  This is not the orange Thanksgiving Day pumpkin.  The outside is usually light to dark green.

* In a cooking class I attended we sampled 8 different canned coconut milks.  The best was Mae Ploy.  It usually has about an 1″ of cream on the top, which is great for making curries. 



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9 responses to “Vietnamese Pumpkin Soup

  1. Raspberry Stethoscope

    I just made a post about how cool it would be to go to Natural Gourmet Culinary School and then somehow found your blog. I am in St. Pete; I see you're in Tampa.

  2. Melissa

    Yes! I just graduated from there in Feb. Are you thinking of going?

  3. Raspberry Stethoscope

    I am not really thinking of going, but so much just dreaming about doing it someday…you know,when I am rich and win the lottery! lol. I just don't know how it would be feasible since my career is in my nursing, I mean, what would I do with that sort of training (besides sit around cooking, eating awesome food).

  4. Melissa

    I totally threw caution to the wind. Rented out my place, sold my car to my brother, and had the best time ever at the cooking school. Thinking of starting a four course vegetarian dinner on Saturdays at my place now. In the process of doing menu planning. I'll keep you posted when it is up and running- The program is short enough at NGI that you could swing it- but winning the lottery to help pay would be nice!!! 🙂 Good luck with the nursing!

  5. Raspberry Stethoscope

    Sounds like an awesome experience!!! Definitely keep me posted.
    Thank you!

  6. Melissa! It’s kismet, again! This is precisely the soup I want to put on the menu this week in honor of BT and her wonderful soup but it’s pumpkin season too : )

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