Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Pumpkin Soup

Some more from my attempts at healthy cooking. Pumpkin soup?????!!!!!!
Yeah I know how it sounds. I've never ever ever like ever ever been a fan of pumpkin. I guess I've always tasted it in curries or some stir fries and though I ate it, I never enjoyed it. I didn't ever look forward to eating it for sure, and when I finally ate it, I never went back for a second helping. So that's my history with pumpkin. Fast forward to June 2014, I am now a big lover of pumpkin, YES I AM. I got to be specific here, I love pumpkin SOUP. I still think I would not like it in my curry  but I definitely looooooove it in my soup. So there's some food for thought, literally. If you don't like a vegetable, try it in a different form. You never know, when and how you will be transformed. So I had a friend stay here one weekend and I offered her pumpkin soup, she obviously didn't seem too excited. She looked at me with the surprised, disappointed, confused, what the hell are you talking about look, and I totally understood why,  but I convinced her to try some, "just trust me" I told her and she did. Jump to the end of the story, she wanted to take home the leftover soup. Sadly, the pot was empty...

So, the moral of the story is this; this may not or probably I'm safer saying' will not' become your favourite soup ever, (mine is sweet corn by the way.The obsession started when I was 7 and 20 years later, the obsession continues and I know I can speak here for my siblings as well. We cannot look beyond sweet corn chicken soup, and I just can't make it the way I like to have it. Do you have a recipe I can try, I would loooooooooooove to ) buuuuuttttt, it can make you like pumpkin and it can become your favourite way to eat pumpkin. Pumpkin by the way has many benefits; it's rich in vitamins and low in calories, Perfecto!!!!!!!

Now, as a rule, any cooking I do has to be simple, and fast and so this fit the rules. So Yaayyyyyyy!!!!!
I love trying out soups and often, the recipe calls for adding milk cream to thicken the soup, and while this works very well with the soup, I've often hoped to find a substitute, healthier or something more available in my kitchen. My cooking is almost always about using the ingredients I already have in my kitchen, I rarely look a t a recipe and then go grocery shopping to buy the ingredients it might require. So about that cream substitute, I finally found one and the best part is that it works for almost soup you want make, as long as you plan to blend the ingredients at the end...... and that substitute is............... RICE!!!!!! Thank you Jamie Oliver for this indispensable trick. I watched this on his 15 minute meals show, ( which  had some really easy and delicious recipes) where he was making a mushroom soup. So Jamie ( like he is my friend Jamie, sigh, love the blue eyes) suggests that instead of using cream, just add a handful of raw basmati rice to the vegetables while cooking and finally blend all the ingredients to make the soup. The rice thickens the soup and lets it stay creamy even if you keep adding water.. What a genius. I now make a variety of vegetable soups, by just combining different vegetables and just adding a little rice.

Soooo this pumpkin soup I made, it's zero oil by the way!!!! oh but I should also mention, it uses a blob of butter....oops........ but come on,  you're eating pumpkin, so a little bit of butter is allowed, or should I say needed..... So it is really simple. I bought a pack of cut pumpkin, it sounds lazy, I know, but it was so much easier to use it. I have no idea of how to peel a pumpkin or cut it, probably because I've never tried, and this pumpkin looked so easy and inviting when it sat on the shelf at the supermarket all cut , packed and sitting pretty , saying Pick me, pick me and I did.

                                                                  Say no to my face!!!!!!!!!!

I used yellow pumpkin. The soup starts off with heating a pan, a little bit of butter, chopped garlic, and stir frying the pumpkin till it changes colour a bit, roughly about 5 minutes. The pumpkin will soften as it cooks.  I added a bit of salt, as I used unsalted butter, but that is something you can adjust as your soup gets ready. For the seasoning bit, I used pepper, some mixed herbs; oregano, thyme and all. You can add any herbs you like, fresh or dry, just be sure to add them in small quantities as they have very strong flavours. When the pumpkin had cooked a bit, I added a handful of raw basmati rice and some water to help the rice cook. You can cover the vessel and let it cook on a slow flame for about 10 minutes.

Once the rice had cooked, I let the mixture cool a bit, before I tossed it in a mixie and blended it, not too smooth, but to a little nice and grainy texture. You can blend it to a texture you like. An voila, I had a gorgeous bowl of pumpkin soup, ready and it said "pick me , pick me and I did. I loved it.

So again, I know it's soup and I know it's PUMPKIN soup, but I have a feeling you are going to like this. Really would I lead you astray????

Here is the recipe :
1 1/2 tsp butter
200 gms pumpkin sliced
4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp mixed dried herbs
2tbsps raw basmati rice
3 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Start with putting a non stick vessel to heat. Add the butter and let it melt. Toss in the garlic and let it fry till the raw smell disappears. Don't let the garlic burn.
2. Add the sliced pumpkin, salt, pepper and herbs. Just let it cook in the butter, till the pumpkin becomes soft, about 5 mins.
3. Add the rice, washed and drained and the water.
4. Check salt and bring the water to a boil. Turn down the flame, let it simmer till the rice is cooked, about 10 mins.
5. When the rice has cooked, turn off the flame and let the mixture cool down. Blend it to a creamy texture in the mixer. Heat the soup just before serving, adding water if you want a thinner consistency.


  1. sounds too easy. will remember to pick up pumpkin this weekend at the grocers

  2. I've never been a fan of pumpkin...but I tasted this in Rona's house and was pleasantly surprised..i make this so often now and have everyone hooked! Delish!