Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and strings, peel and discard the tough outer skin. Cut into 1 to 1 1/2-inch cubes (should yield about 5 to 6 cups). Sprinkle and coat the pieces with lime juice and set aside.
Shell the shrimp and place in a blender or food processor with the chopped peppers, shallots, shrimp paste and 1/2 cup of water. Puree into a smooth, well-blended mixture.
Reserve two cups of the thickest cream from the top of the 2 cans of coconut milk. Set aside. Pour the remaining lighter milk, along with the remaining 1 cup of water into a medium-size soup pot. Stir in the pureed shrimp mixture and mix well to dissolve the paste in the liquid, smoothing out any lumps.
Bring the soup mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring to a smooth consistency. Add the pumpkin chunks. Return to a boil and simmer over low to medium heat until the pumpkin is soft and tender (20 to 30 minutes). Do not be concerned at this point with the appearance of the soup as it will change considerably with the addition of the coconut cream.
Add the reserved coconut cream and bring to a boil over medium heat. Season with fish sauce to the desired saltiness. The pumpkin should impart a lovely golden color to the soup. If it is not sufficiently ripe to sweeten the soup, add palm sugar to sweeten to your liking. Simmer a couple of minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Stir in the Thai basil and when they have wilted, turn off heat.
Serve warm, garnishing the top of each bowl with a sprig of Thai basil.
Recipe by Thai Food & Travel
Photo by Clean Food Crush