Kaddu ka shorba – Ashgourd soup | Eggless | Dairy free | Vegan |


This is my own recipe inspired from the traditional Kerala dish called ‘olan’. Olan is a stew made of ashgourd / white pumpkin / yelavan(Malayalam) / pooshnikai(Tamil) / Kaddu (Hindi) cooked and floated in thick coconut milk and a whole lot of well cooked black-eyed-peas in it. It tastes divine. But views are divided along borders. Β My Tamilian friends from Tanjore and Salem feel the dish is unduly exalted, and that the gravy is too watery. For some dishes you have to develop a taste and I suppose olan falls in that category. My son tries to leave the pieces of gourd behind when I am not looking and that is what inspired me to turn it into something that would make it definitely a better mouthful. Β If you are fond of Thai food, this olan inspired soup is for you.

The ‘Thai’ flavour comes from the abundance of coconut milk and a pod of garlic. It is a great option esp. for those with delicate health, convalscents and a great baby food. Β The traditional preparation does not have any seasoning, and garlic is not an option in it.

Dish: Kaddu ka shorba / Ashgourd soup
Serves – 3 persons

Ashgourd / White pumpkin / Kaddu – 400g
Coconut milk extracted from 4 cups of freshly grated coconut – about 4 cups milk
Cauliflower – 100g
Garlic (I used one head garlic) – 1 pod
Almonds soaked for at least 3 hours in plain water and skinned – 5 nos.
Coconut oil – 1/4 tsp.
Salt to taste

Peel and cut pumpkin into cubes. Separate cauliflower into small flowerets. Boil the two together in water enough to cover nearly whole of the vegetable. (Pumpkin cooks fast and does not require much water at all)

Cool and grind the cooked vegetables in the residual water along with almonds and garlic. Strain the juice. Repeat till you are left about 1 cup of smooth paste in the strainer. You should get about 3 cups of thick stock. The residue need not be thrown. It makes a good thickener for gravies as it does not have any taste. I used in the gravy while making chickpeas next day and no one knew about it.

Mix the coconut milk in the stock and warm on low heat till it gets warm enough. Do not heat on high flame or for long as the coconut milk may curdle.

If thin add a tablespoon of the residue paste and mix. Top with 1/4 tsp. of coconut oil and stir lightly once. Serve garnished with mint.

I have been complaining a lot lately of how I hardly get any time off, no time for myself, no cycling, no trekking, nothing at all. I asked for it and got it right here in Thane. I did not have to go too far too, it was at the railway station.

One mundane adventure-less morning I was walking across briskly to get to the ladies coach as the train slowly rolled into the platform. A young lad about 15 or 16 was also looking for some adventure too. He was perched on the roof of the train instead of inside it. Just as the train came to a halt, he jumped off heroically from the roof and fell right on top of me! It happened in a split second. I fell sideways into the hands of a man who was approaching from the opposite direction. Β He was desperate to stay alive, so he held my upper body from crashing onto his toe. My knee however ended up with a strained ligament. I got up, dusted, uttered a few choice expletives and burst laughing the next moment. It is that rotten sense of humor that keeps coming off at the most inappropriate times. Everyone else followed tow and the boy went away with a story to tell about his heroic deed and I limped across my way to the ladies coach of the next train that was already coming in. A week later, two days ago I realized that what I thought was a sprain was a strain and now am at home, blogging, browsing, hosting events and serving you all a soup for the cheery soul.

I do not mean to evoke sympathy at all – I am making the most of the ‘break’! πŸ˜€


Harini is a vegan food photographer, writer and recipe developer. She also loves feeding birds, reading, watching crime thrillers, and travelling amongst other things.

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  • Madhuram

    Oh! sorry Harini, I was not aware of your adventure.

    My grandmother used to prepare olan but in a different method. I think she used to steam karamani and add some coconut oil tempering to it. I have to check it up with my mother.

    This soup looks very different and interesting.

  • peasepudding

    Wow that look amazing! Does the white pumpkin taste the same as other pumpkins? I would like to try your recipe but I have never seen white pumpkin.

  • Aparna

    Elavan soup? Wow! If its anything like Olan, its a winner!

  • Yasmeen

    Love the simple flavors of the soup.Hope u feel better soon and enjoy the unexpected break.hugs πŸ˜€

  • Sunshinemom

    Thanks all:)

    Rajani, I will do that from the next post on! One from blogspot and one from flickr:)

  • Sanjana

    Hey Harini, first time here and I have to say that I'm loving all of your recipes! Beautiful pictures too! I'll defo be back for more!

    Sanjana from KO Rasoi

  • Rajani

    so now i hear you thanking the boy eh?? got time to put your feet up and blog and enjoy some soup! nice sounding soup and simple enough πŸ™‚ harini, tum ek photo normally bhi upload kardo, just one. cos iraq, uae china etc etc ek bhi flickr photo nahi dekh sakte.

  • Bharathy

    Ashgourd soup is new to me!..nice recipe πŸ™‚

    I second Soma :)!..Love your pictures!..

    Love the way the pictures are presented without the border(on all 4 sides)…
    does it need any tweaking with the Html coding?

    Can you pls help me?

  • Sharmila

    Love that colour Harini! Hope you are fine now .. no pain. TC. πŸ™‚

  • Sowjanya

    I have heard about olan, its got lots of black eyed peas also but never a soup! Looks really nice. I check your blog every now and then. Didnt really expect to read about the fall. Hope you are feeling better now.

  • Curry Leaf

    πŸ˜€ TG the old H is back to talk to us.Love the soup.TG for the adventourous boy,I can' get the scene off my head πŸ˜€
    The soup is very new never ever thght you could make a soup of kaddu

  • Nirmala

    I couldn't stop laughing but imagining the pain hayyo it would be horrible. This soup is wonderful and I am great fan of olan and I bet I would love this too πŸ™‚

  • jayasree

    Olan inspired soup… Thats very creative of you. Great click.

    Enjoy your break. When I saw the time in your mail and the comment, thought you had taken an off today. I'm sure, both Jr. P and H must be very happy to have you around.

  • Dershana

    That is a lovely soup. With an already fine tuned sense of taste for olans, my family will love this.

    And, that was no joke… god! heal well and fast.

  • Veggie Belly

    Ive never had ashgourd in soup. This sounds good with the coconutmilk!

  • notyet100

    tk cre dear,even i survived a fall yesterday ,..:-( soup looks yum nd happy hostin the event

  • Soma

    This is beautiful and the pictures are sublime. Your pictures has so much calm in them.

  • Cham

    I couldn't stop laughing but even though not a funny thing ! Hope u get well soon and run to catch ur train! What a pretty color u achieved! I will keep in mind this event!


    I see a lot of upcoming talent there. never had ash gourd soup though

  • Preeti Kashyap

    This soup is new to me….hope your knee heals soon harini…that was quite a story!

  • Lavi

    Both Jr.H and Sr.H hve clicked well!

    this soup is new to me..

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