If there’s one food Australians love, it is pumpkin.
Not like this. This is just creepy….
But unlike our American pals who like to eat their pumpkins for dessert, for us it is sadly almost always served savoury as a vegetable. Just incidentally though, Australia, why don’t we have pumpkin pie? We get all the trashy American stuff – the Kardashians and ice bucket challenges to name but a few. Why can’t we get some of the yummy delicious pumpkin pie action too?
According to this, you don;t even have to cook it. It’s MAGIC…
Sadly for us, Pumpkin Dream Pie remains just that…
We eat pumpkin as a side for a roast, in lasagné’s risottos, salads and scones. But more than eating pumpkin, we love to drink it.
How much do we love to drink it? Pumpkin soup is a, no probably the Australian ubiquitous menu item – just about every cafe, restaurant, pub bistro and hole in the wall has their own version prominently displayed on the menu – I go to a cafe where it has been the soup du jour for at least five years.
Out of curiosity I had a little look on taste.com.au for pumpkin soup recipes. There are 79 of them. Ok, so it’s not the 765 recipes they have for chocolate cake but 79 variations on a theme of pumpkin is still quite a number. There are recipes for Classic Pumpkin Soup, Creamy Pumpkin Soup, Perfect Pumpkin Soup and Smashing Pumpkin Soup (I guess that’s the soup that despite all it’s rage is still just a rat in a cage).
I did start to notice a trend though -not only do we love our pumpkin soup but we like it to be a bit of a international bright young thing. There are recipes for:
Thai, Moroccan, non – specific Asian, Tortellini (Italian), Japanese, Thai again, Thai again again, Curry x 3, South Indian, Australian (whatever that maybe…I didn’t look, possibly flavoured with beer and vegemite), two more Thai’s. The Americas are represented by one paltry entry for Maine Pumpkin soup. But you know what? If I was given a choice between that soup, (even though it looks and sounds divine) and this:
I wouldn’t be eating Pumpkin soup either.
Africa too is sadly missing from that list. Ok, yes, Morocco is there but…jeez…(eyeroll), if you must be pedantic, sub-Saharan Africa is completely missing. Hopefully not for much longer…because it’s time this delicious Ethiopian Pumpkin Soup adapted from Diana Henry’s Plenty took the stage!
This is gorgeous to look at, the inclusion of tomato paste and the Berbere spices gives it a real 1970’s burnt orange colour. It’s really tasty too – slightly sweet from the pumpkin, slightly smoky from the spices, slightly spicy from the chilli and cinnamon and ginger. If you leave out the yoghurt garnish it is also vegan.
And, whilst I don’t want to blow my own trump….actually, no, wait, it’s my blog, I can blow whatever I damn well want! The Berbere pepitas and pinenuts which were my own invention were amazing! They add some additional spice and salt and crunch. The only problem with these is that they are so good you will be hard pressed to save any for the soup. I had to make about three or four batches of them because we kept eating them before they could be used as the soup garnish. They are seriously good!
The key to this soup is the Berbere spice mix. I bought mine but you can make your own. There are about a thousand of these on the interwebs, each of which is slightly different. I have included the recipe for Berbere given in Diana Henry’s book below.
Either way you’re going to end up with a lot more Berbere than you need to make this one recipe. Of course you could make the soup more than once and you will surely make the Berbere Pepitas and Pinenuts more than once but if you want to experiment a bit more with this spice blend you can also try these:
Doro Wat – Ethiopian Red Chicken Stew
Berbere Lamb Chops With Lentil Cucumber Salad
Ethiopian Ful Medames
Enjoy and Have a great week!