Red Curry Chicken and Pumpkin Soup


As the weather turns colder and the days get shorter, and maybe you start feeling those winter blues, make a big pot of this red curry chicken and pumpkin soup. When people think of comfort food, they usually don't think of it as exciting and interesting, but this incredibly tasty soup is the rare exception. It will warm your heart and sooth your soul, but stimulate you at the same time with its lovely contrast of flavors and textures.

Prep Time:
25 mins
Cook Time:
1 hrs 10 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 35 mins
6 servings


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, chopped into bite-sized pieces

  • 1 medium red onion, diced, divided

  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar

  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

  • 1 tablespoon freshly minced ginger

  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 6 cups chicken broth, or to taste, divided

  • 1 (13 ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk (not low-fat)

  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste, or more to taste

  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce

  • 1 (2 pound) kabocha squash

  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced

  • 2 medium green onions, thinly sliced, or more to taste

  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, or more to taste

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil, or more to taste

  • 2 small serrano peppers, thinly sliced

  • 3 medium limes, halved


  1. Heat vegetable oil in a soup pot over high heat. Add chicken to hot oil; cook, stirring occasionally until browned, about 5 minutes.

  2. Stir in 1/2 of the red onion and brown sugar. Cook until onions have softened and sugar starts to caramelize on the bottom of the pan, about 3 minutes. Stir in black pepper, cumin, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Toss in ginger and garlic; stir until sizzling, about 1 minute.

  3. Add 4 cups chicken broth and stir to deglaze the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil. Add coconut milk and curry paste. Add cayenne pepper and bay leaf. Stir in fish sauce. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

  4. Carefully cut squash with a large knife on a cutting board. Remove seeds and peel and discard skin. Cut flesh into bite-sized pieces. You should have about 1 1/2 pounds squash.

  5. Add squash to soup and salt to taste. Add remaining chicken broth to cover squash. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until pumpkin is just barely tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

  6. Stir in remaining red onion, bell pepper, and green onions; cook for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, and stir in 1/2 cup cilantro and 1/4 cup basil. Taste and adjust seasonings.

  7. Ladle into bowls and garnish with more cilantro, basil, green onions, and serrano chiles. Squeeze lime juice into each bowl.


Chef's Notes:

Don't use low-fat coconut milk.

The amount of curry paste you use will depend on the brand and strength; it could range from 1 teaspoon to 1/2 cup. You can find curry paste in almost any large grocery store.

You can use any winter squash, like sugar pumpkin, pie pumpkin, kuri, kabocha, hubbard, etc. Do yourself a favor and try to find kabocha--it's got an extremely pleasant taste with a subtly-sweet flavor, and retains a nice texture, even when fully cooked. Just don't use a regular pumpkin, because those are very watery and almost tasteless.

For a less brothy soup, don't add the extra 2 cups chicken broth.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

454 Calories
26g Fat
26g Carbs
31g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 454
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 26g 34%
Saturated Fat 15g 74%
Cholesterol 97mg 32%
Sodium 1533mg 67%
Total Carbohydrate 26g 9%
Dietary Fiber 5g 17%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 31g
Vitamin C 66mg 331%
Calcium 94mg 7%
Iron 5mg 28%
Potassium 511mg 11%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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