It came as a pleasant surprise when my friend Sanjeeta, invited me to share my thoughts on her blog – Lite Bite. Hop over to Lite Bite for a simple but warm, delicious, Winter soup and to know more about Lite Bite and to read the full article.
If only shallots were easy to peel, I would actually replace onions in all recipes with them! They have divine flavour, but they can be a bit of a pain, and they are irreplaceable. One might think – “Ok! I can use one medium sized onion instead of a shallot.” But no, shallots are unique. They have this mild sweetness that onions lack. So important that I used them right up there with pumpkins in the title.
Recipe: Steamed Pumpkin soup with shallots
Serves: Four soup bowls full
Yellow pumpkin (I used 1 small whole pumpkin) – 444g
(After removing seeds, being steamed and being pureed, this weighed approximately 400g or about 3 cups)
Vegetable stock– 3 cups, approx. 520g
Shallots, peeled and sliced thin – 6
Garlic clove – 1
Bay leaves – 3
Olive oil – 1 tbsp.
Pink salt (powdered kala namak) and pepper to taste
Set the stock to thaw.
Cut pumpkin into six thick segments or big chunks. Steam cook for about 20 minutes or till a knife slides smoothly into the cooked pumpkin. You can boil or bake pumpkins but this is the healthiest and easiest method.
If you do not have a steamer, heat enough water in a large vessel and when it comes to a rapid boil place a steel strainer over it to create a steaming contraption. The strainer while fitting snugly into the vessel should remain at least an inch or two above the water surface. Place the pumpkin segments inside the strainer, skin side down and cover with a fitting lid. Lower the heat to medium and let cook in the steam till a knife easily slides into the pumpkin flesh. I used a steamer and my pumpkins were done in about 20 minutes.
When done, remove and let cool till the pumpkins are easy to handle. This is how they look; firm and not mushy;
Meanwhile, cook the shallots. Heat oil in a sauce pan to medium hot. Add bay leaf followed by garlic and sliced shallots. Reduce heat and fry till the shallots turn light brown and slightly caramalized. Remove a few aside for garnish along with a bay leaf if you would like to, at this stage.
By this time, the pumpkins should have turned warm. Using a knife, gently pare the skin and puree the pumpkin along with the above mixture containing shallots, garlic and bay leaves to a grainy consistency with a cup of vegetable stock. You can make it super smooth too, but I like it a little coarse. If you do not like the slight texture from bay leaves you might want to remove them before you puree.
Return the pureed soup along with two more cups of stock to the sauce pan. Warm through, adjusting salt. Serve with a dash of lemon pepper on the top, and some of the caramalized shallots.
Steamed pumpkin, just pureed makes delicious baby food, without the addition of salt and coconut milk.
Did you know that pumpkins and squashes make excellent introductory food for babies as well as toddlers? Find your baby’s perfect pumpkin soup on my facebook page.