This soup perfectly presents the harmony between the sweetness of pumpkin and the heat from red chili and black pepper. Some cinnamon and fresh turmeric not only add additional flavors but are also a great source of antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties.
I am all about keeping it low on the spices when it comes to soups. But pumpkin carries the spices so gracefully that you wouldn’t mind the heat. Maybe even want some more.
I have used red kuri squash (hokkaido) to make it. But you can use any other type of pumpkin that you like. You do not need to peel the pumpkin, just wash it really well and then cut in big chunks.
In this recipe, I used fresh turmeric as there are some benefits of using fresh one rather than the dried powdered version:
- Fresh turmeric roots or rhizomes are close relatives of the ginger family and much like ginger, they also taste fresher by emitting livelier flavours when used in root form.
- the root contains curcumin, the key ingredient that triggers the antioxidants in turmeric that get lost when it is converted into powder.
- The root is also rich in oil which is a great antiseptic and antibacterial in itself; enough for providing the body with its protective shield against viruses, burns and wounds.
You can find fresh turmeric in the produce section of a well stocked grocery store (I find mine in my local Edeka) or in an Asian/Indian store. Fresh turmeric looks very similar to ginger but a bit orange in color.
You will have to scratch and peel the skin using a spoon or a knife, then chop it and make into a paste. I use my pestle and mortar for the job. Just take care to wear an apron and gloves to avoid staining your hands and clothes. If you still get a stain, expose the area to direct sunlight and the yellow stain will disappear just like magic.
Don’t worry if you aren’t able to find fresh turmeric. Dried powdered version will work equally well. Even though it does loose some of the essential oils while being processed, it still has great nutritional value.
A quick glance at the ingredients used:
Spicy Pumpkin Soup
- 1 medium pumpkin (1 kg uncut)
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 medium carrot
- 1-2 spicy red chilies (substitute 1/2-1 tsp red chili powder)
- 5 cm piece fresh turmeric (substitute 1 tsp turmeric powder)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 2 liters water
- 2 Tbsp cashew butter (Cashewmus) (substitute 1/2 cup cream)
- Wash and cut pumpkin in half. Remove the seeds and cut into big chunks (Keep the skin on).
- Scratch and peel the turmeric and make it into a paste (I used pestle and mortar) or finely mince it.
- Dice onion and garlic and slice the carrots.
- Heat the olive oil in a pot on medium heat and saute the onion and garlic for 2 minutes.
- Add the carrots and red chili(es), and saute for about 3 minutes.
- Add the turmeric, cinnamon and black pepper and saute for about a minute.
- Add the pumpkin, salt and water. Mix well, then cover and cook on medium heat for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, turn off heat. Add the cashew butter, then blend it using a stab mixer or a stand mixer to bring it to a smooth consistency.