TENDING the TABLE

Curried Pumpkin Soup

It’s my favorite time of year. I love the cool air, warm slippers, the sound of rain and the changing colors. I also really love soup, but maybe you knew that already. As a tribute to fall, I’ve got the recipe for this Curried Pumpkin Soup for you today as part of the Virtual Pumpkin Party. Continue reading for the recipe and some Ayurvedic tips on how to transition between the seasons with ease…

Ayurvedically speaking, the time between seasons is the time when the doshas are most easily vitiated and we are most prone to disease. Have you ever noticed how you always get a cold as the seasons shift? This is because during each season the doshas each follow a cycle of accumulation, aggravation and alleviation. For example, during the Summer, Vata accumulates. In the Fall and Winter Vata is aggravated by the presence of cold, light and dry qualities. And in the Spring Vata is pacified by the humidity and warmth. The other two doshas undergo similar transitions from season to season. These transitions are consistent and cyclical, yet the body often struggles to adapt to a new climate and new qualities. Seasonal changes are listed as one of the three main causes of disease in Ayurveda. For this reason, seasonal routine or rtucarya is just as important as daily routine or dinacarya. With practice, we can anticipate what each new season will bring and adapt our diet and lifestyle to proactively build balance and resiliency. You can also consider doing a seasonal Ayurvedic cleanse under the supervision of an Ayurvedic practitioner as a way of eliminating the accumulated doshas (I’ve been doing a seasonal Ayurvedic cleanse twice a year for the last eight years and love it. If you want to know more about the method let me know.)

So, as the Summer fades into Fall, let’s discuss some diet and lifestyle recommendations to prepare for the season ahead. Keep in mind that you can use the same principles outlined here to create a seasonal routine other times of year. In the Spring you’ll want to pacify Kapha by balancing out its dominant qualities ( oily, heavy, smooth, cold, slow, cloudy, soft). In the Summer you’ll want to pacify Pitta and the qualities associated with it (hot, light, sharp, spreading, oily). Remember, like increases like and opposites reduce. Once you start to notice the qualities around you it’s easy to infer what foods and activities will help promote balance.  As I mentioned, Fall/Winter is the time when Vata is most easily aggravated so the recommendations here are designed to pacify Vata with foods and routines that balance out its light, dry, subtle, mobile, rough, hard and cold qualities.

DIET

  1. Eat with the seasons. In this case, incorporate plenty of roasted root veggies, squash, and other grounding and warming foods into your diet. This includes oatmeal, stews, risotto, kitchari etc.
  2. Use plenty of healthy fats and oils in your cooking.
  3. Incorporate warming spices like ginger, cinnamon, fennel, cloves, black pepper and mustard seeds.
  4. Sip warming teas and warm golden milk.
  5. Avoid things that will increase the qualities of vata like chips, toast, crackers, raw veggies, beans, dried fruit, popcorn, cold drinks etc.
  6. Eat regular meals. Vata likes stability and routine.
  7. Chyawanprash and Ashwagandha are both great supplements for this time of year.
  8. Oh, and eat soup!

LIFESTYLE

  1. Routine is key. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day, eat regular meals, and make time to slow down.
  2. Choose exercise that isn’t overly stimulating. This is a great time to  turn the senses inward. Yoga, walking, cross country skiing, tai chi etc. are all great options.
  3. Take warm baths. During the Fall and Winter I take baths almost every night. Light candles and use essential oils to create a calm, relaxing environment.
  4. Oil up. Oil massage during the Fall and Winter is your best friend. Abhyanga helps to relax, sooth and lubricate the skin and also helps combat things like dry skin and eczema that are so often a problem during this time of year. Make sure to also oil inside your nose and ears as Vata likes to accumulate in open spaces and create problems  like dizziness, tinnitus and sinus inflammation.
  5. Bundle up and get cozy. Hats, socks, slippers, and sweaters will help insulate your body from the elements and stabilize Vata. Avoid exposure to strong winds and excessive cold.
  6. Eat more soup…

 

This recipe was developed as part of the annual #virtualpumpkinparty.

You can check out all the other pumpkin recipes here. Enjoy!

*Be sure to follow me on Instagram and tag photos of my recipes  with #tendingthetable. 

Curried Pumpkin Soup

INGREDIENTS

1 medium sized sugar pie pumpkin

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 shallot, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons curry powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup full-fat coconut milk

3 cups vegetable broth

1/2 teaspoon salt

sesame seeds, chopped cilantro and puffed rice to garnish

PROCEDURE

Preheat the oven to 425° F. Cut the pumpkin in half. Place the cut side down on a baking sheet, add an inch or so of water and roast for 1 hour. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Scoop out the flesh, discarding the seeds and the skin. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat  the coconut oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until soft. Add the spices and stir. Add the pumpkin, coconut milk, broth and salt. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Transfer the soup to a high speed blender. Carefully (with the lid cracked slightly to allow the steam to escape and a dish towel draped over the top of the lid) puree, starting on low and increasing to high, until completely smooth. Serve with sesame seeds, cilantro and puffed rice.