Pumpkin Soup – two (of one million and a half) ways

It is pumpkin season and it is time to cook those suckers up before you realise you’ve had enough pumpkin to last you another decade. There are many, many ways of making a successful pumpkin soup, and these versions I’ve offered here are just two of them. The first is inspired by the flavours of the eternal crowd pleaser known as butter chicken, or murgh makhani. However, since it contains neither chicken nor butter, and for lack of a better name, I’ll call it my Indian-inspired pumpkin soup for now. Close on the heels of the first, the second soup is a nod to one of my other all-time favourite flavour combinations, the zingy hot and sour tom kha soup, which, if not for tradition’s sake, will be known as the Thai-inspired pumpkin soup in this series. Enjoy.

Pumpkin Soup – two ways

Serves 4

Pumpkin base

A splash of neutral-tasting oil

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

8cm of ginger, finely grated

½ – 1 small chilli, thinly sliced 

1.5 kg pumpkin

1 litre of veggie / chicken / beef stock

Indian

2 tsp garam masala

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp cumin

8 cardamom pods, seeds removed and ground

2 Tbsp tomato paste

200ml thick cream (plus extra, if needed)

soy sauce / salt

To serve

200g Greek yoghurt

50g roasted cashews, chopped

sweet paprika, to sprinkle

Thai

3 lemongrass stalks, bruised

8 kaffir lime leaves

200ml coconut milk (plus extra, if needed)

1-2 fresh limes, juice, to taste

1 bunch coriander, chopped

Fish sauce / soy sauce / salt

To serve

A few extra tablespoons of coconut milk

A few extra coriander leaves

A few extra slices of chilli

To start off, add the oil and the onion to a big pot and fry on medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and stir for a minute.

Indian

Add all the spices and the tomato paste, and stir for another minute. Add the pumpkin and the stock, and bring to a boil. Simmer until the pumpkin is soft. 

Remove from the heat, adding the cream, and puree with a hand-held blender. Season to taste with the salty substance of your choice.

To serve, ladle into bowls, swirl with some Greek yoghurt and scatter with some cashews and a few pinches of paprika.

Thai

Add the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, along with the pumpkin and stock and bring to a boil. Simmer until the pumpkin is soft. 

Remove from the heat, adding the coconut milk and coriander , and puree with a hand-held blender. Season to taste with the salty substance of your choice.

To serve, ladle into bowls, swirl with some coconut milk and scatter with some coriander leaves and chilli rings.

Serve either soup with bread or rice or whatever you’d like to have it with.