Spicy Pumpkin Soup

Spicy Pumpkin Soup

As most of the good things tend to end unexpectedly, mild and spring like weather in Istanbul ran away from the city all of a sudden and left a freezing cold and lots of snow in its place. Just a week before we were enjoying long strolls along the coastline and in the twinkle of an eye we found ourselves hardly going out of homes even for a grocery shopping in the neighbourhood. Such desperate times require desperate measures, such as buying new DVD’s, taking your blanket out of the closet, refilling your corn kernel reserves to make fresh popcorn, and for sure having a bowl of hot soup that will warm you from inside.

I like eating almost all kind of soup as a starter, however when I feel really cold I eat the first bowl as a starter whereas the second bowl makes my main dish. A hot and tasty soup embraces various feelings like tenderness of your mom when you are sick or the nearness of a companion in a cold winter day making you feel warm.

Snow in Istanbul

All these in my mind, I wanted to make a soup to enjoy while watching the snow covering all over the place as if everything on the street like cars, trees, and apartments were dusted with confectioner’s sugar. No one on earth could take me out of my house for shopping so I need to make the soup of the day with the ingredients in hand. Considering the situation, I was ready to go experimental and to try something like a red Mexican bean soup with fresh herbs and chili powder. Then I realized the bowl on the refrigerator’s rack full of pumpkin slices waiting for my better half to make a traditional pumpkin dessert out of them which feature another post in the coming weeks by the way.


Pumpkin is also one of these “all purpose” stuff from which you can make savory foods, desserts, tart fillings, garnishes and so on. Even the seed of this great colored Halloween icon, also known as pepita, is a popular snack. Interesting thing is that unlike most of the other snacks, pumpkin seeds are full of fatty acids that are beneficial to maintain healthy blood vessels and nerves. So, do not feel guilty if you cannot stop yourself cracking a handful of these seeds while watching your favorite TV show.

This heart-warming and healthy soup I prepared became one of my mellow recipes for this winter. Its enriched flavor with a touch of roasted mustard and coriander seeds along with grated nutmeg will make your day in a snowy winter afternoon. Taking the widespread winter laziness into account, using a large bowl to decrease the number of refill trips to the kitchen is highly recommended. Enjoy!
Mustard Seed

Ingredients (makes 8 servings)

  • 650 g (22.9 oz) chopped pumpkin (very hard outer parts should be taken out by a knife at first, watch your fingers while doing that)
  • 160 g (5.6 oz) onion, finely diced
  • 100g (3.5 oz) carrot, chopped
  • 150g (5.3 oz) potato, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 ½ cups water
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sea salt


1. Sauté garlic and onions with olive oil in a large saucepan placed on medium heat for 3-4 minutes.
2. Add carrots, potatoes and chopped pumpkins and blend with onion and garlic.
3. Pour 4 ½ cups of water and close the lid of the saucepan tightly. Cook until all the ingredients are tender.
4. In a small saucepan add the mustard and coriander seeds and close its lid.
5. On a slow heat, frequently shake the saucepan to move the seeds inside without opening the lid. After a while you will hear the sound of mustard seeds popping. As you hear the last one popped turn off the heat and crush the seed mixture by the help of a mortar and pestle.
6. Sift the spice mixture through a strainer to make sure that husks are eliminated.
7. Add 1 ½ teaspoons of sifted spice mixture, ½ teaspoon of grated nutmeg, freshly ground black pepper and sea salt (according to your taste) to tendered vegetables.
8. Pour in a cup of milk and mix all of the ingredients by using a hand blender or a food processor.
9. Pour in service bowls and serve right away. You may serve it with a dollop of cream on top.

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  1. #1 by Damaris - February 5th, 2010 at 22:11

    This looks really good. thanks for the recipe

  2. #2 by Ed Schenk - February 6th, 2010 at 17:10

    Great photo! The soup looks delicious.

  3. #3 by Ozhan - February 9th, 2010 at 23:49

    Damaris and Ed, thanks a lot for your nice comments.

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