2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 whole garlic cloves
About 1cm piece of fresh ginger
2 whole red chillies (optional)
1 cinnamon stick
2 onions, finely diced
2 celery sticks, finely diced
1 tbsp tomato purée
200g dried brown lentils, rinsed well
450g pumpkin or winter squash
400g can coconut milk
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp white sugar
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger, chillies, cinnamon and cloves. Fry for 30 seconds, then add the onions and celery. Reduce the heat and fry for 5 minutes, stirring.
2. Add the tomato purée and the lentils and stir well. Add 1 litre water and simmer rapidly for 10 minutes, skimming any froth from the surface. Reduce the heat to very low and cook for 1 hour or until the lentils are really tender. Season, remove from the heat and discard the garlic, ginger and spices. For a thicker soup, blitz half with a stick blender.
3. Meanwhile, peel, deseed and dice the pumpkin. Put in a pan with the coconut milk, nutmeg, sugar and some salt. Simmer and cook for 45 minutes, until the pumpkin is falling apart. Purée or mash, then season.
4. Ladle the soup into bowls and top each with the pumpkin purée.