It’s always a surprise when something you’ve never liked actually becomes something you love, right? Especially food! There are flavours, dishes, ingredients that you grow up disliking (sometimes for no legit reason) and some of these magically transition from dislike to tolerate to actually like to eat, over the years.
Two such things show up in this recipe, which is what makes it so special : roasted Pumpkin soup!
I’ve never been a fan of anything from the gourd family, except pointed gourd (Parwal). There is genuinely no reason behind this. Everyone at home used to eat all the veggies, including gourds (except bitter gourd) and many versions of gourd recipes were made at home on a regular basis. But fussy me never ate any. Over the years, I’ve managed to sustain this dislike for gourds pretty strongly. It’s only now that I am trying to eat more vegetables and so am opening up to the gourds. Slowwwwwly.
Pumpkins were the first to break the mental block. They are used in sambhar and I ended up eating some that way. I also realized that they were slightly sweet and make for good desserts, so yay! I happened upon a pumpkin soup when I was in the US and I fell in love! Delicious, spiced, warm and comforting – this was nothing like I’d thought! Perfect for that zero degree weather! I was a convert!
The extra oomph in the soup comes from roasting the pumpkin, not just boiling it. The roasting amplifies the dark, sweet flavour but also adds an intensity to the flavour that would otherwise be missing.
One small pumpkin can be cut into 16 slices to make for even roasting. Look how glorious they appear! Like sunshine on a tray!
I roasted these for about 40 mins, turning mid way, till they were brown and soft enough to poke a fork through.
The base of the soup is made of onions, garlic, ginger, simple spices and coconut milk. Super easy and usually available on hand.
This brings me to the other food quirk that this recipe helped me overcome : creamy soups! I’ve always been on team ‘clear soup’ and never liked the creamy ones because they felt too heavy. The only exception being tomato soup, which I love and have grown up having. Over the years though, I am learning to be less finicky and am realizing that not all creamy soups are bad. While they are heavier than clear soups, they can still be super tasty and quite comforting. So as of now, both pumpkin and mushroom soup have made the cut. Who knows if there will be more?
For this soup, cooking the onions till they are lightly browned helps to add depth of flavour, amp up the roasty taste and also amplify the sweetness. The spices add to the warmth and help to balance the sweetness.
The roasted pumpkin is add and cooked down further with some water to combine all the flavours and the coconut milk comes at the end to round out the dish, add more flavour and take it to the right level of creamy.
I also got to use my hand blender for the first time and was super kicked! Felt like such a kitchen geek 🙂 Blitzing the soup into a smooth-ish texture is quite therapeutic.
I don’t like to absolutely smooth, a few tiny bits and pieces here and there are fine. But try to get it as smooth as you like.
For some extra texture and flavour, I topped off the soup with some roasted pumpkin seeds, fresh parsley, pepper and chilli flakes. Deeeleeeshus!
I adapted this recipe from one my friend Sarah made as part of her winter pop up. She is a beautiful chef and makes the most wonderful, healthy food using local produce. My friend, R, and I went to Sarah’s pop up in January and ordered the pumpkin soup. It was a large bowl of comfort and deliciousness. Made us so very happy!
When we recently went grocery shopping, R bought pumpkin and my first reaction was – let’s make soup! Who would have thunk it?
This soup is very easy to make, even if it is a little time consuming. But trust me, it is worth it!
It is a big warm hug which looks like sunshine!
You need to make this and feel the magic yourself!
Roasted Pumpkin Soup
1 small pumpkin (750g)
2 onions – finely chopped
5-6 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
1 inch of ginger – finely chopped
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
1/2 tsp clove powder
1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper + more for garnish
2.5 cups boiling water
200 ml coconut milk
Fresh parsley for garnish
20 pumpkin seeds – roasted
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste
- Pre heat the oven to 210C and line baking tray (I needed two trays)
- Wash and dry the pumpkin. Cut into quarters and then another set of quarters, to get 16 slices. Remove all the seeds and pulp from the middle
- Spread a little olive oil all over each slice and lay them out on the tray, 1 inch apart
- Bake at 210C for 35-40 mins, flipping mid way, till cooked through. They will be slightly brown and a fork should be able to go through the flesh easily
- Take the pumpkin out of the oven and let it cool to room temperature. Then peel away the skin and chop up the flesh into cubes
- Heat oil in a large pan. Add the onions and cook on medium heat till golden (about 10 mins)
- Add the chopped ginger and garlic and cook for 1-2 mins
- Add the chopped pumpkin, cinnamon,nutmeg ,clove, chilli powder, pepper and mix well. Mash the pumpkin as much as you can
- Pour in the boiling water and mix well. Reduce to low heat and simmer for 15 minutes till the flavours combine well
- Adjust salt and pour in the coconut milk. Mix well and cook for 5-7 minutes
- Take the soup off the heat and let it cool for 10-15 minutes
- Use a hand blender/mixie to blitz the soup to get a largely smooth soup. It doesn’t have to be fully smooth, a little tiny bit of texture is fine
- Once the consistency is creamy and smooth, ladle into bowls. Top with roasted pumpkin seeds, fresh parsley, cracked pepper and some chilli flakes