Pumpkin season is here and it’s never long enough for my taste. This versatile vegetable is equally suited to baked delights and savory dishes, such as soups like the earthy one I am sharing today.
Ideal for cold autumn days when the craving hits for a warming bowl of goodness, this pumpkin and carrot soup is colorful and creamy and rather substantial due to the addition of lentils. Pureeing the soup gives it a nice silky texture that makes each spoonful a special experience.
I used fresh pumpkin pieces in the soup.
On the topic of pumpkin and the relative shortness of the season, it’s easy to make your own pumpkin puree at home to store for future use if you have enough freezer space. Buy a fairly large pumpkin, cut it in half, scoop out the seeds and membranes, cut again in halves, brush with some oil and roast in a preheated 400 degree oven for 35 – 50 minutes or until fork tender. When cool, simply scoop out the pumpkin and mash it up until smooth. Store in the freezer in sealed bags in 1 cup portions for future use.
Don’t forget to reserve those seeds. You can [highlight]roast them[/highlight] for an easy, addictive and healthy snack.
Pumpkin and Carrot Lentil Soup
- 2/3 cup toor dal or yellow split peas
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- small handful of dried curry leaves
- 1 small onion or 2 to 3 shallots, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh pumpkin or canned unsweetened and unspiced puréed pumpkin
- 1 large carrot, sliced
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 to 3 red or green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamon seeds
- 4 to 5 cups vegetable stock
- 1/2 teaspoon [highlight]garam masala[/highlight]
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
- fresh ground black pepper
- a few tablespoons of plain yogurt, whisked (optional)
Rinse the toor dal or split peas and soak in water for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Heat the oil over medium heat In a large heavy-bottomed pot. When hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves. Stir for 30 to 60 seconds or until the mustard seeds turn grey and begin to splutter and pop. If desired, remove some of the contents from the pan and reserve for garnish.
Add the onion or shallots to the pan and stir for a few minutes to soften. Now the garlic, pumpkin, carrot, chilies, half of the curry powder, half of the turmeric, and cardamon seeds. Stir for 1 minute and then add a few tablespoons of water to deglaze the pan. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the vegetables begin to soften — about 10 to 15 minutes.
Pour in the vegetable stock or water and stir in the remaining curry powder, turmeric and the toor dal. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes or until the vegetables and lentils are tender.
Remove from heat and purée with a immersion blender or in batches in a counter top blender. Return the soup to the stove and bring the soup to a boil again, adding more vegetable stock or water if desired. Season with the garam masala and salt and pepper.
Remove from heat and swirl in some yogurt if using and garnish with the reserved seeds and curry leaves.
Makes 4 to 6 servings