Pumpkin and papaya were two of the vegetables I detested most during my childhood, but once I started cooking that slowly changed. Pumpkin found its way into my culinary escapades as my husband was very fond of it and papaya was only made appealing to me by the lovely Pawpaw man
Now, I love pumpkin almost as much as my husband, not only because it is actually really delicious but also because it's really healthy. Pumpkin is good source of vitamin A, B, C and E. A 100 gram pumpkin provides 100% of the daily recommended Vitamin A while containing only 20 calories. Even the seeds inside the hollow of the fruit when dry roasted with some salt are a good low calorie snack.
Pumpkins are so versatile that they can be used in both sweet as well as savoury dishes. My favourite way of making pumpkin has to be pumpkin soup which is a big hit with my daughters. It's always on the list of things they want me to make for them when they come to visit me. The last time I made my pumpkin soup, I made a very large batch and decided to freeze half of it to save me the trouble of making it twice. It worked really well and I would definitely recommend it as it's always nice on those lazy days to simply heat something up and have a great, healthy meal with no fuss.
Here I’ve used fresh pumpkins as it’s easily available but canned pumpkins can also be used. The soup is already full of flavour especially with all the roasted cumin and paprika, but you can always tweak it to your taste by adding more garlic or chilli flakes or whatever else you think might make a good addition to the soup. When making the soup for my girls, I always use cream as it is best suited to achieve the smooth, creamy texture but full cream or semi skimmed milk make adequate substitutes when considering the calories.
Pumpkin Soup – tasty and healthy
- Pumpkin 250 grams (3 cups) - peeled and cut into cubes
- Onion 1 medium sized – sliced
- Garlic 6 cloves
- Chilli powder ½ tsp
- Paprika 1 tsp
- Roasted Cumin powder 1-1 ½ tsp
- Bay leaf 2
- Vegetable stock cube 1
- Cream / full cream milk ½ cup
- Salt to taste
- Chilli flakes 1 tsp (optional)
- Olive oil or any refined oil 1 tbsp
- Heat a thick bottomed pan with oil.
- Add garlic, sliced onions, bay leaf and sauté till onions are transparent.
- Add chilli powder and half of the cumin powder and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add the cut pumpkin cubes, sauté for another 3 minutes, pour 1 cup of water, crumble stock cube and salt, cook till the pumpkin pieces are tender.
- Blend this after removing the bay leaf into a smooth puree.
- Heat the puree. You can add more salt and chilli flakes, if required, at this point.
- Once it starts simmering, add cream and the remaining cumin powder and remove from the heat.
- You can add more milk or hot water to the soup to attain the required consistency.
- Serve with a small dollop of cream or some croutons.