[Samal Island, Davao Gulf, Philippines; 07°11.85' N / 125°42.63'E]
Babak is the local market town on Samal Island near Davao City where fresh, beautiful, locally-grown produce is sold daily. We stayed on Samal Island at the Holiday Oceanview Marina where we and other yachts were preparing to head to Sangihe, Indonesia on a branch of the Sail Indonesia rally. One of the social events we enjoyed during our stay was a weekly Filipino dinner catered by Carol and Donald who live nearby. One of these evenings included this fabulous pumpkin soup. This is our recipe which duplicates the original with reasonable success.
2 medium yellow onions
4 cloves garlic
1/2 of a large pumpkin (or similarly-sized orange-fleshed winter squash)
10 stalks of fresh lemon grass
6 oz coconut milk
4 cups fresh water
sea salt to taste
Optional: fresh basil, fresh mint, galangal, fresh ginger
Peel and cube pumpkin. Chop onion. Peel and slice garlic. Slice finely white section of lemon grass. Add all to a pressure cooker with water. Seal and cook on high heat about 20 minutes. Let pressure cooker return to room temperature slowly. Open lid, add fresh herbs and then blend the soup to a uniform consistency (in small batches if necessary). Remove remnants of lemon grass by straining soup through a colander. Return to pot, heat gently almost to boiling, add coconut milk, salt and galangal to taste. Close lid tightly and apply VERY VERY low heat until the pressure cooker pressurizes to low heat. Heat 15 minutes at pressure. Allow pressure to return to normal slowly (natural release method). Do not open lid until ready to serve.