Letak Letuk – Lampung Pumpkin, Mushroom & Coconut Soup

By Mieke

I know we’re veering awfully close to the end of soup season, and I’m not even a soupy lady, so if I a like a soup you know it’s good soup. This pumpkin, mushroom and coconut soup from The Indonesian Table by Petty Pandean-Elliot is a very good soup that’s on the table in little over 30 minutes (chopping skills permitting) and is fairly versatile in terms of ingredients.

The Indonesian Table

I try not to be a completist but it’s nigh impossible for me to not get the country focused books Phaidon puts out. I own too many of them but they are just an incredibly solid bet in terms of getting to know a specific cuisine. Between that and my Indonesian roots it was impossible not to order Petty Pandean-Elliot’s The Indonesian Table when it came out last year.

The Indonesian table - Pandean-Elliot, Petty

Given its relatively limited pages (compared to other Phaidon-titles, which generally run over 500 pages, this book features only about half of that) The Indonesian Table does a really good job of explaining the different eating and cooking styles of Indonesia. As well as covering some of the archipelago’s most well-known dishes, like rendang and gado gado it also introduces some lesser known dishes like this letak letuk, a pumpkin, mushroom and coconut soup from Lampung, a province of Sumatra.

Some other recipes I want to cook from this book are the sweet corn fritters (the more well-known relative of my cauliflower fritters), mushroom and tempeh fried rice, chicken soto (soup), raw tuna in spicy tangy citrus and sate lilit (a fish sate skewered on lemon grass stalks -!!!).

Pumpkin, Mushroom & Coconut Soup

I’d originally planned to share the mushroom and tempeh fried rice, but I couldn’t find any tempeh nearby. So to get the most out of the pumpkin season I settled on this pumpkin, mushroom and coconut soup instead. In the book Pandean-Elliot uses oyster mushrooms, but my beloved oyster mushroom is a bit hit and miss to find here in France so I used chestnut mushrooms instead.

I’ll be honest I was going through it a bit yesterday and I was happy to prep this soup and even achieve a photo. It was hard to even get myself to eating but when I reheated this soup it was a life saver. Filling and hearty with loads of different textures (more on that in the recipe notes).

Further reading on Indonesia

If you want to learn more about Indonesia or Indonesian cuisine I can recommend the following books:

  • P.A. Toer‘s The Buru Quartet (start here), this is a long read but it gives a fictionalized history of Indonesia from the butt end of the colonial period until a little after Indonesian independence and gives you a really great insight into Indonesian history. My forever recommendation
  • Indonesia Etc. from Elizabeth Pisani, a sort of travelogue through Indonesia as it is now and a great explanation of how complex a nation Indonesia is (though I found some of it a bit Eurocentric)
  • Sri Owen‘s Indonesian Food, Sri is the Grande Dame of Indonesian cooking and while I don’t have her book yet she is the Grande Dame for a reason
  • For Coconut&Sambal by Lara Lee worked with Sri Owen among others, and her book is hopefully the first in a long line of new Indonesian cookbooks available in English

Pumpkin, Mushroom & Coconut Soup

Dorothy Porker
A fragrant, easy, filling, multi-textured soup from Petty Pandean-Elliot's The Indonesian Table.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main course
Cuisine Indonesian
Servings 4


  • Medium saucepan


  • 2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • 3 makrut lime leaves coarsely torn
  • 2 red bird's eye chilies thinly sliced, see notes
  • 1 large banana shallot sliced into thin rings
  • 400 ml - 14 fl oz coconut milk divided into two
  • 500 g - 1 lb 2 oz pumpkin, butternut squash or sweet potato peeled and diced into 1 1/2 cm - 5/8" cubes
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 200 gr - 7 oz oyster mushrooms sliced into thirds, see notes
  • 100 gr - 3 1/2 oz baby spinach
  • small bunch basil leaves and stems chopped


  • In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cloves of finely sliced garlic, 2 coarsely torn makrut lime leaves, 2 finely sliced chilies and 1 finely sliced shallot with 200 ml - 7 fl oz of the coconut milk and 200 ml - 7 fl oz of water and bring to the boil.
  • Once the mixture has come to the boil, add 500 gr - 1 lb 2 oz cubed pumpkin and bring back to the boil before covering, reducing the heat and simmering for 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender. You can test the tenderness of the pumpkin by sticking a fork in to your chunkiest cube of pumpkin, it should poke straight through.
  • Add the remaining 200 ml - 7 fl oz of coconut milk and season to taste with the salt and pepper.
  • Now add 200 g - 7 oz of sliced mushrooms and cook for a further 3-4 minutes before stirring in 100 g - 3 1/2 oz of spinach and a small bunch of chopped basil and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Discard the lime leaves and season to taste before ladling into bowls and serving.


  • This soup serves 4 as a starter or side and 2 as a main
  • My basil went off before I was able to use it so I've only tried this basilless
  • I used 1 1/2 home-grown Serrano chilies instead of bird's eye chilies, if you don't like your food to be too spicy remove the seeds and pith of whichever chili you're using
  • I used 150 gr - 5 oz thinly sliced chestnut mushrooms
  • If you don't like this many textures I'd suggest using a stick blender to break up the pumpkin pieces at step 3, before adding in the mushrooms, spinach and basil - note some of the pumpkin is so soft it will break up during the remainder of the cooking process anyway
  • If you want to batch prep and freeze this soup, I suggest you stop at step 3, freeze whatever you're not using that day and adding in fresh mushrooms, spinach and basil when you're reheating the soup 
Keyword soup

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