Pumpkin, a gourd-like squash is typically orange or yellow or white in color. Pumpkin, also known as winter squash is the star of Halloween and Thanskgiving in the U.S. Most parts of the pumpkin are edible including the pumpkin seeds which is a good source of protein that can help lower cholestrol. The high fiber content helps aid digestion too. Aren't all these health benefits a good reason for you to start using pumpkin in your cooking more often?
I prefer more soups during Winter which makes you feel warm and comforted. Just the perfect food to suit the season. Here's a pumpkin soup recipe for you to get started....
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups orange pumpkin, diced
1 bay leaf
1-2 cinnamon sticks, small pieces
2 cups water
1 tsp chilli powder (can add more, if you like it spicier)
1 oz light cream (optional)
Salt, to taste
In a pressure cooker, heat the butter and oil. Add the bay leaf, cloves, and cinnamon sticks. After it starts to splutter, add the chopped onions and minced garlic and sauté for few minutes until the onions are translucent.
Now, add the tomatoes and fry until they turn pulpy. Add the diced pumpkin, chilli powder and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the water and pressure cook for 2-3 whistles.
Allow the cooked pumpkin to cool for few minutes. Remove the bay leaf, cloves and cinnamon sticks (the spices are used only for infusing the flavor in the soup) and purée the pumpkin using a hand blender (makes it so much easier) or a regular blender.
Heat the pumpkin purée and add the desired amount of salt and mix well. The texture of the soup is smooth and creamy but you can add light cream, if you want to make it more creamy.
If you feel the soup is too thick, you can thin it out by adding more water. If you want more heat, you can add a dash of tabasco or sprinkle some fresh ground black pepper when serving. Serve hot along with a side salad.
Makes 5 servings.
2 cups romaine lettuce, cut into small pieces, washed
1 small red onion, cut lengthwise
1/4 cup grape tomatoes, each tomato cut into half
5-6 black olives, sliced
2 tbsp jalapeno peppers, sliced
2-3 tbsp banana peppers
2-3 tbsp light balsamic vinaigrette
Toss all the ingredients along with the vinaigrette and serve.
Makes 2 servings.