Pumpkin and Rice Soup

Pumpkin and Rice Soup Recipe

The provisions were scarce when we got back from India the other night - my first winter squash of the year still on the counter, brown rice in the freezer, a bit of sad looking ginger on the windowsill, random nuts and seeds in the cupboard, herbs still going strong in the planter boxes out back, and a three week old knob of butter. That was pretty much it. But I felt exhausted after getting off the plane, and after forty hours of travel from door to door, I was determined cook at home. This simple soup was the first thing I made. It was silky textured, the color of orange juice, and after a quick trip to the corner store in the morning for a bit of yogurt and a lemon - the lunchtime leftovers were even better. Particularly because of a finishing touch of and herby butter drizzle and lemon ginger pulp. I hope you find it as restorative as I did. Also! I wanted to tack some photos of one of my favorite experiences from India onto this post - the day Wayne and I had our photos taken on the street in Jaipur.

Pumpkin and Rice Soup Recipe

I'd read about this man, Tikam Chand. He has been taking pictures in the Old City of Jaipur using his grandfather's camera for decades. And, upon arriving in Jaipur, we set out to find him. No luck, at first. But a couple of days passed, and finally, at a moment we weren't looking, Wayne spotted a guy with an old camera on the sidewalk. We pulled over, hopped out, and it wasn't ten seconds before we were in front of the camera. Sixty seconds and five frames had been snapped. Sit here, look here, you two together, and so forth. I was thinking it was very much like getting a dental x-ray. Much more fun, but still - all business. And it wasn't Tikam with the camera, it was Surrender. I'm still not entirely clear on whether the two photographers share the camera, or if they're related. In fact, it's all pretty hazy.

Pumpkin and Rice Soup RecipePumpkin and Rice Soup Recipe

So, you have your picture taken, and that's when things start getting incredible. The processing is done right in there on the street, and is finished in just a few minutes. A box in the back of the camera functions as the darkroom, negatives made from small sheets of hand-torn photo paper are slapped on a piece of wood, and shot again to make the positives. There's a bucket for rinsing. Your completed pictures (and negatives if you splurge for them) are unceremoniously wrapped in a zig-zag folded sheet of the daily newspaper. It all goes down fast, and somewhat hilariously. For those of you who are interested in the specifics of how this works, I found this (Jonas also has some amazing Jaipur photos).

Pumpkin and Rice Soup Recipe

The head-to-toe shot of us up above might be my favorite shot ever of the two of us together.

Pumpkin and Rice Soup Recipe

An out of focus shot of the camera from the front. All eyes on Krishna. There's no shutter, so to expose the frame, the red foil lens cap is moved to the side for a second or so. Part of what I loved about the whole experience was how unfussy, and non-technical it was. This guy had a good lens on a box set on a tripod that looked like a few sticks of driftwood bound together. And his photos are beautiful in a way you'll never get with a new camera. Completely inspiring. Anyway! I have much more to share with you, in the meantime enjoy the soup. Trick it out with the good toppings, and I'm almost positive it'll become a staple for you this fall/winter - or, at least, I hope so. xo -h

Pumpkin and Rice Soup RecipePumpkin and Rice Soup Recipe

Pumpkin and Rice Soup

For this soup I started with a 2 kg / 4 1/2 pound squash, and used about half of it.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large shallot, chopped
1/2 serrano chile, seeds and all, chopped
fine grain sea salt

1 1/2 pounds pumpkin/squash flesh, seeded, peeled, and cut into 3/4-inch chunks

1 teaspoon fresh ginger juice, pressed from grated ginger

cooked brown rice, warm

other toppings: plain yogurt, toasted pepitas, lemon ginger rosemary butter* (and pulp)

In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, shallot, and serrano and a couple big pinches of salt. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes, then add the pumpkin and 6 cups of water (or less if you like a thicker soup), I make this one on the slightly thin side. Bring just to a simmer and cook until squash is completely tender throughout, about 15 minutes. Note that the time it takes will differ between different squash/pumpkin varietals. Remove from heat and puree with a hand blender until smooth, and add the ginger juice. If you like an even thinner soup, add a bit more water at this point, then stir in more salt to taste, about 2 teaspoons.

Serve over a big scoop of brown rice with a dollop of yogurt, some pepitas, a drizzle of lemon ginger rosemary butter (and pulp).

Serves 4-6.

*Lemon Ginger Rosemary Butter: Melt 1/4 cup / 2 oz unsalted butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, long enough to let the butter start to brown a bit. Remove from heat and immediately stir in leaves from a 4-inch sprig of rosemary, zest of one lemon, I teaspoon grated ginger, and a good pinch of salt. Stir well and let sit for 5 minutes or so. Strain the butter, and reserve the pulp to serve separately.

Prep time: 10 minutes - Cook time: 25 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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  • Wow, so amazing. Was the "darkroom" at the back of the camera containing his "homemade fluid mixture"most likely developer & then he boldly fixed in the outdoors? I'm super curious about this process & would love to try to get my photo students to try such non-technical, hands-on processes in this hyper technical, digital age. Seriously inspiring & thank you for sharing! Oh & the gorgeous soup too!

    HS: Yes! I know, incredibly inspiring. The other thing I didn't mention is that he seemed to have some sort of light-safe gloves that he used to develop in the back of the camera...garden gloves of some sort?

    spoon&sailor letterpress
  • Funny, not that Austin is as far as India, but my post tomorrow was born of the same "arrive home, cupboard is bare" scenario. Isn't India amazing, especially as a vegetarian? I loved that feeling of having the run of the entire menu at most restaurants, and not in any way being considered an oddball. I've only been for 2 weeks but am looking for any excuse to go back.

    HS: I'm loving being back in my own kitchen. That said, the food on our trip was SO good and interesting. Especially in the country side - definitely enjoyed a long list of preparations I'd never even imagined. Hope you're well Michael.

    Michael Natkin
  • Oh Heidi, this sounds divine! It might be just the thing for me to whip up ahead of Hurricane Sandy's arrival today. Thank you. Your story about these photos in Jaipur takes me back to so many of my own quirky and beloved encounters abroad. Thank you for sharing.

  • I've been looking for new rice recipes, and this one seems pretty versatile. Also, those portrait photographs you got are beautiful! I love film photography.

    jaime @ sweet road
  • I've been looking forward to your report back from India. I hope to one day travel to such amazing places for inspiration as you do, but for now I find my inspiration in what you share. Thanks Also, thank you for your delicious recipes. I recently made your fresh pea soup for friends and it was received with the highest praise. Your flavor combinations are so simple yet clever and get me thinking.

    HS: Thanks for the thoughtful comment Jane. And I'm so happy the soup worked out. Soup are hands-down my favorite.

  • Welcome home! The photos are stunning and look like family heirlooms. I could dive into the soup...

    Sarah @ two blue lemons
  • What an incredible experience! We loved Jaipur - wish we knew of this at the time!

    Simply Life
  • You're back from India already, that was quick! Looking forward to more on your trip. Meanwhile, love the beautiful orange colour of the soup - and that butter sounds like a divine accompaniment.

    leaf (the indolent cook)
  • I love the story - and shots - of the photographer! (And the soup looks good, too..)

  • The fact that a guy in the streets in India took what you consider the best shot of you two, is so amazing, it's worth the trip to India. Can't wait to see the rest of the pictures as I'm a big fan of that country myself!

    Mike @TheIronYou
  • Yes, the soup looks delicious, and I will try it this or next week.....but the photographs! Such a delight and such a story behind them..... There's something about old cameras, black and white film....... I remember my grandfather ahd lots ofnational geographic maagazines from the 1920s...there's a one of you too that looks as if it's come straight from the pages....

    thinking of the days
  • wow... this just looks and sounds amazing! can´t imagine how it works, picture taking and developing all in one. i´m so excited to read more about you trip to india!

  • How brilliant! Those photos have such a vintage feel, to be treasured forever :)

  • Welcome home! It feels like you barely left! Wow...time flies! The camera.shot.is.so.cool!! I love that! Totally inspiring is right! And the soup sounds perfect - great job tossing together a soup with little in the way of post-trip provisions!

    Averie @ Averie Cooks
  • Wow, what an amazing experience. I'm so glad you shared the process with us- very cool! I've got a simple pumpkin soup in the freezer, and will have to bookmark this recipe for when I thaw it for supper one night. Welcome back!

    la domestique
  • A nice orange soup for a nice orange city.

    Anne Marie
  • I miss the magic from developing film and photos in the darkroom. There was something so calming and methodical about it, a bygone era in this digital age. Soup looks great, too! I love how winter squashes store so well. :-)

    janet @ the taste space
  • I can't tell you how excited I've been, waiting to see your first post about India! Those photos are amazing, can't wait to hear more... rest up xx

    HS: Thanks Emma!

    Emma Galloway
  • Those are such cool pictures! I love that antiqued look. Glad you had a good trip! This soup looks fantastic, too. I bet a bit of cardamom would be fantastic in ti with that ginger. Add a little Indian flare. :)

    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table
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