Pumpkin and Rice Soup

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, and I'm almost positive it'll become a staple for you this fall/winter - or, at least, I hope so. xo -hPumpkin and Rice Soup Recipe

 

Pumpkin and Rice Soup

5 from 1 vote

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

Ingredients
  • 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)
Instructions
  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 a dollop of yogurt, some pepitas, a drizzle of lemon ginger rosemary butter (and pulp).
Notes

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.

Serves
6
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!

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Comments

  • What an amazing keepsake! Can't wait to see more from your trip.

    Jacqui
  • Sister of mine just went to the Larder to get books & meet Aran for me, she shared how much it reminded her of our time with you in Seattle! ( I'm the groupie remember) anyway, memories & pumpkin what more could I ask for!

    Wish I could have been there as well!

    Keli Aiello
  • The soup looks beautiful...and I'm sure it tastes delicious too.....and I love your vintage-ish shots....developing the photos right on the street! how cool is that! also can't wait to read more about your trip to 'India'! I'm sure your trip pictures would make me nostalgic!

    Archana
  • Thank you SO MUCH for all the info about the street photography! Totally blew me away and the photos are really really special.

    Heather M
  • Lovely story and I love the parallels of resourcefulness in your recipe after a long trip! My cousin and I backpacked around Rajasthan in 2003 and had such a terrific time. We'd read about a popular lassi shop in our lonely planet in jaipur and went in search of it. In the year since our edition of the lp came out, other lassiwallahs must have got wind of the mention and decided to put up shop right next to the original one! Being confronted with some 5 lassi shops, we ended up buying something at the 3 that looked the oldest. Dinner that evening was a 3 course lassi extravaganza - plain lassi followed by salty lassi with a sweet mango lassi finale! Perhaps it was the same with the camera guy?

    Veena
  • Lovely photos. Beautiful story-telling. And I can't wait to try the soup.

    Dena
  • Wow, the photography is so cool! I am very inspired by this post.

    Claire
  • Simple, quick, nourishing and delicious! I, too, have found that sometimes having limited ingredient options fosters a unique brand of creativity.

    Carly
  • That lemon-ginger-rosemary butter is going on pancakes immediately (as soon as someone wakes up). If I re-chill it, think it would work for cookies, or does the melting mess up the chemistry? Glad to have you back -- can't wait for more trip notes and recipes!

    Claire @ Hivequeen
  • Hi, you probably already know this, but Martha Rose Schulman of NYTimes gave you a shout out and posted one of your recipes. So exciting to see my favorite recipe authors together on the internet!

    Priya
  • I think I am now officially obsessed with Tikam Chand. I love that he processes the images right there on the street! What an incredible experience!

    Dina Avila
  • The photos are incredible, utterly amazing. I would treasure such lovely photos. And the recipe looks fab too. I think I walked past you in Japantown this week, on Thursday? I was outside the book shop and so nearly said hi but suddenly got all girl-crushy shy! If it WAS you, that black cape is fantastic! HS: It was! And thank you :) I got the sweater at Bloomingdales....and they definitely still have them (I think I might need to buy a back up for when this one wears out!)....And next time you've got to say hello!

    Cathryn
  • Soup sounds wonderful! I think I'd leave out the chile though -- but lemon ginger rosemary butter is a fabulous idea ... and can be used for other things as well.

    Gen
  • 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
  • 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.

    Liz
  • 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 am so glad you are back safe and sound!!! Photos are amazing and i have just been given a veritable Ton of squashes so ... here we go!! Thank you.

    Susan
  • Beautiful, as always!

    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
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