Enjoy Chef Sabyasachi Gorai's silky, smooth Walnut Pumpkin Soup with its right balance of flavours and the tantalising inclusion of vanilla.
Chef Saby, who won the National Tourism Award for Best Chef of India, is from Asansol, West Bengal and started out studying art before he switched to hotel management and trained to be a chef.
Walnut Pumpkin Soup
- ¼ kg pumpkin, de-seeded, skinned, cut into pieces
- 30 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 2-3 garlic pods, finely chopped
- ½-inch piece ginger, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- Handful walnuts, roughly chopped + extra for garnish
- Dash vanilla essence
- 1 l water
- Salt to taste
- Dash black pepper powder
- Sprigs arugula or rocket, for garnish
- Dash cream, for garnish
- Dash paprika, for garnish
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.
Add the chopped pumpkin.
Saute a few minutes.
Add the chopped garlic, ginger, onion, walnuts.
Add enough water to cover the pumpkin.
Cook until done.
Add the vanilla essence, salt, pepper.
Mash the pumpkin pieces till the soup is a smooth puree.
Take off heat and transfer into two soup bowls.
Serve hot with the arugula, cream, paprika and walnuts as garnish and with a side of bread.
Editor's Note: Vanilla essence is an intriguing flavour in this recipe. But it may not be for everyone and you might choose to skip.
Interesting additions are 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, 1 tsp chopped fresh celery, dash tabasco, a handful of basmati rice while boiling the pumpkin in water and 1-2 tbsp cream cheese before serving. Even 1 tsp curry powder can add great flavour and provide a fusion accent.
For a Jain version of this soup, skip the onions, garlic and fresh ginger and use saunth or dried ginger and add more chopped fresh herbs, spices as suggested above.
Instead of walnuts you might consider almonds or a bit of both.
Chef Sabyasachi Gorai is a consultant chef and mentor.