Spicy pumpkin soup

The first time I ever tried pumpkin I was in Sao Paulo, Brazil with Matthijs. We stayed in a hostel with a kitchen, we had been travelling for about five months, and just realized while in a supermarket that groceries were rather on the expensive side. So instead of buying familiar ingredients that would break the bank, we decided on ingredients that were somewhat affordable. That's how we ended up with half a pumpkin, a couple of stock cubes, something resembling crème fraiche, and a piece of bread. The kitchen in our hostel was minimally equipped, so we had to mash the pieces of pumpkin we cooked in a frying pan with a fork until we could mix it with the stock and make a soup out of it. Luckily now we’re at home, we have a stick blender to do all the hard work.

This recipe originally didn’t start out as a soup. We were actually making a recipe from NOPI, the cookbook, but when I discovered at 7.30 PM that a bunch of halved tomatoes needed to sunbathe in the oven for eighty (!) minutes, and I already prepared everything else, it was time for a new plan. This is the result.

1kg butternut squash
olive oil
salt + black pepper
3 cm piece of ginger
1 red chilli
750ml vegetable or chicken stock

120g coconut yogurt
1/2tsp ground cardamom
zest + juice of 1/2 lime


  • Preheat the oven to 220ᵒC fan.
  • Cut the butternut squash in half, remove the seeds, then cut into 2,5cm wide slices. Mix with 2tbsp olive oil and a good grind of salt and black pepper. Place the slices on a baking tray and roast for 30 to 35 minutes.
  • Finely chop the ginger and chilli, and grind them into a paste in a mortar and pestle.
  • Heat 1tbsp olive oil in a pan. Add the ginger and chilli paste, but make sure the paste doesn’t make a backflip out of the mortar and makes the oil splash everywhere. Cook out for a couple of minutes, add the stock, and let simmer until pumpkin is ready.
  • Mix 120g coconut yogurt with 1/2tsp ground cardamom, the zest and juice of 1/2 lime and 1/2tsp of salt and a good grind of black pepper in a small bowl. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
  • When the pumpkin is ready, add it to the stock, and blend with a stick blender. If the soup is a little thick for your liking, add a little more stock or water. Season to taste, and serve with the lime yogurt.

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