cook like matthew anderson: pumpkin coconut soup

If you’ve been to Umami, especially during lunch, chances are you’ve seen my husband (and sometime me). This tiny Asian restaurant in Chagrin Falls is his favorite (and a favorite of mine, too). The friendly staff doesn’t even have to ask, they know his order: udon noodles with beef and a ginger ice tea. Unlike Jamie, I’ve basically made my way through the menu and can honestly say this restaurant just keeps getting better. If you haven’t tried for yourself, do yourself a favor and go. And be sure to say hi to Jamie when you do.

For the latest Cook Like series, Umami’s head chef, Matthew Anderson, shares a favorite soup with us.

Pumpkin, Coconut and Coriander Soup (Serves 4-6)


  • 4 shallots, unpeeled
  • 4 cups pumpkin cut into ½ inch cubes, or other hard winter squash
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups canned coconut milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup loosely packed coriander leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice and zest from the limes
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced scallion greens

Preparation: In a cast iron skillet or gas grill, dry-roast or grill the shallots, turning occasionally until softened and charred. Peel and cut the shallots lengthwise in half, and set aside. In a large stock pot, heat the oil until just smoking. Add the pumpkin cubes and shallots and cook for about 5 minutes, just until the pumpkin begins to soften. Add the coconut milk and water and bring to a boil. Add the salt and simmer over medium heat until the pumpkin is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Adjust seasoning using additional lime juice if needed

Garnish with black pepper, coriander, scallions and lime zest.

This post was sponsored by Heinen’s. When making this soup at home, Ed and Glenn with Heinen’s suggest the following pairings. If you can find it, Glenn likes Great Lakes Christmas Ale. He says it would pair very well because the spice profile in the ale complements the spices in the soup. With the soup sounding pretty hearty, a fuller flavored beer should hold up nicely and not be overwhelmed by the soup. An option to go lighter would be Buckeye Christmas Girl. It is more of a contrast of flavors, with no added spices. It sells for $5.99 for a 22oz. bottle. Another is Bell’s Winter White, which is brewed with a small amount of coriander and would echo the soup flavors and provides a crisp counterpart.  It’s also featured in Top 40 Beers We Love ($9.99/6pk).

If you prefer wine, Ed likes JL Wolf, Riesling Kabinett. He says the wine’s bright tropical notes are a great compliment to the coconut flavors, while bright acidity will cut through the soup’s richness.  It was a double gold medal winner at Heinen’s/WVIZ World Series of Wine.  Sells for $14.99 a bottle.

One Comment

  1. Jim Alunni
    Posted December 19, 2010 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    I might have seen you guys there once or twice