Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Yellow Pumpkin Soup

My first powerful memory of this vegetable is as halwa. I've never eaten such a dish again but it remains delicious in recall. Yellow pumpkin was never cooked by my mother so far as I can remember. And it is only much later that I understood why. 

Indian pumpkins - Christopher J. Fynn, Wikimedia Commons

What's in a Name? 

In Delhi, I discovered that this gourd is called sitaphal there. For me, having grown up in South India, sitaphal was custard apple or sugar-apple as it appears to be called elsewhere. By now, I could see why my mother never cooked the vegetable. Shopkeepers were loathe to cut it, in those days, as once cut, the vegetable would rapidly degrade and spoil. And one gourd looks fit enough to feed a village as a whole!

Big and Bountiful

Somehow, I continue to be fond of this yellow fellow. It is reported that yellow pumpkin has many antioxidants and can be good for health. And yet it is a vegetable that is hard to use up as most recipes require but a few pieces. There are, indeed, a good many Indian recipes that call for a goodly amount but, in our family, for example, it is only I who am partial to the sweet and sour bhopla preparation that is popular in the Hindi belt and features mainly the bhopla. There are diverse recipes from all over India and all of them can be very delicious but few use more than a few pieces of the vegetable. Moreover, here, the focus is on soup.

I learned my technique from my sister who made it for me once. The recipe is not precise but it is easy and there's nothing like a bowl of this broth for a fine winter's day or night. Indeed, you can have it in any season.


1 C pumpkin, without seeds, peeled and chopped
1 small onion
A few cloves of garlic
1 green chili - optional
A small bunch of coriander leaves
1 T coriander seeds

Chops everything coarsely and saute in some oil or butter. Pressure cook or boil until cooked. Cool and blend. I didn't really need to sieve it. Add about two cups of stock or water. Season with salt, pepper. A dash of cinnamon or nutmeg powder is nice and you can add a bay leaf or tej patta if you like. Boil for a bit. Serve hot.  Now, that's my version but you can find many more ideas on the Net. 

A dash of lime juice or a bit of grated zest can make the soup fancy. These days one finds a huge variety of commercial soups in shops. They are great in a pinch but some contain chemicals that might not be so good for us. Also, it is a good habit to make things one eats from scratch. The engagement makes for more mindfulness.

If soup is not your cup of tea, here are some recipes that I found I'd bookmarked:
Pumpkin-oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Pumpkin Leaf and Vegetable Mish-Mash

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