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Chef Jamie Oliver Makes Over School Lunches

In an effort to reduce obesity among kids, this celebrity chef has come up with lots of healthy lunch ideas.

Pack a Punch in Your Kid's Lunch continued...

Friday Jamie Oliver's own pumpkin rice laksa soup -- perfect for fall (see the recipe below), with soy chips


Jamie Oliver's Pumpkin Rice Laksa Soup

Serves 6-8

Make this hearty fall soup for dinner, then pack a Thermos in your child's school lunchbox the next morning.


1 lb 6 oz pumpkin, butternut squash, or acorn squash, halved, peeled, and deseeded

Small handful of lime leaves

2-3 chilies, deseeded and finely sliced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced

2 thumb-sized pieces fresh ginger, peeled

3 sticks lemongrass, outer leaves removed

Large handful fresh cilantro, leaves picked, stalks chopped

1 heaping teaspoon five-spice powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Olive oil

1 white onion, peeled and finely sliced

2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 cup basmati rice

2 14-oz cans coconut milk

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Juice of 1 or 2 limes

Optional: 1 fresh red chili, sliced

Optional: fresh coconut, grated


Chop the pumpkin flesh into 2-inch pieces. To make your fragrant soup base, first chop, then whiz or bash up the following in your food processor or pestle and mortar until you have a pulpy mix: the lime leaves, chilies, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, cilantro stalks, five-spice powder, and cumin. Remove any stringy bits that may remain in the pulp. Put this fragrant mixture into a high-sided pan with a little oil and your finely sliced onion and cook gently for about 10 minutes to release the flavors. Add the pumpkin and the stock to the pan. Stir around, scraping all the goodness off the bottom of the pan.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer with the lid on for about 15 minutes until the pumpkin is soft.

Add the rice and give it a really good stir. Some of the pumpkin will begin to mush up, but you'll also have some chunks. Continue to simmer with the lid on until the rice is cooked, then off comes the lid. Add the coconut milk, stir again, taste, and season carefully with salt and pepper. To give it a bit of sharpness, add the lime juice -- the amount will depend on how juicy your limes are, but the idea is to give the soup a little twang.

Reviewed on August 08, 2008

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