Pumpkin and Rice Soup

Silky textured and vibrant, the pumpkin soup I made as soon after 40 hours of travel back from India. It has a herby rosemary butter drizzle and lemon ginger pulp, and completely hits the spot.

Pumpkin and Rice Soup
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, vibrant in color, 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 a rosemary 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. 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 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. Pumpkin and Rice Soup Recipe Anyway! I have much more to share with you, in the meantime enjoy the soup. Trick it out with the good toppings (don't skimp on the pumpkin seeds), 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 Recipe
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Pumpkin and Rice Soup

4 from 9 votes

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
  • toasted pumpkin seeds
  • other toppings: plain yogurt, toasted pepitas, lemon ginger rosemary butter* (and pulp)
  1. 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. 

  2. 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.

  3. Serve over a big scoop of brown rice with lots of toasted pumpkin seeds (or pepitas), a dollop of yogurt, 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 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
35 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

Post Your Comment


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)

Completely inspiring, like all your posts!

HS: Thanks Mary!


What a wonderfully composed piece. The integration of story and recipe is beautifully spun. Thank you. Time to make some soup!


Before having read your post, I also made squash soup...it's windy and at the freezing mark here in Geneva, and so I roasted up an entire pumpkin, with serrano chilis, added some apples, ginger, cardamon and cumin and voila! I love the "bite" of the chili and the hint of sweetness from the apple. So happy to see you're inspired after India.


While in Jaipur, did you get the opportunity to visit Brigitte Singh's studio? She has resurrected old original wooden blocks and hand prints the most amazing fabric designs. They are very hard to get in the USA, but I have gotten them in Sydney (where I live part of the year) and London. Her work is exquisite. She is a french (by birth) designer and married to a northern Indian gentleman. You might be interested to look her up and see her work... absolutely fabulous.

HS: I didn't, but I've already started a list for the next time I go back, and I'll add this for sure!

Nancy Hopkins

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

Lemon Ginger Rosemary Butter. Oh, my. Why is it always that our of scarcity, comes plenty? Seems the theme of the photo and soup, alike. Welcome home. We will be making this soup within the week.

HS: It's good :) Hope you like it Molly. xo


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 :)


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! 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

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


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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