Fall is the time for Pumpkin Spice. Most of the spicy treats you’ll see are sweet takes on this popular blend of cinnamon, ginger, clove, and nutmeg. This soup, however, is a far more savory affair strongly influenced by the techniques of Indian cooking. Pumpkins are by nature quite bland. They make a good backdrop for all kinds of spicy goodness. If you like your soups quite strongly spiced, you can easily double the amount of cinnamon, clove, and ginger.
I buy Laxmi Gourmet Traditional Garam Masala Indian Spice Blend from my local Asian grocery, but you could make your own if you so desire. Many Indian Cookbooks have lovely blends of this aromatic spice blend. I particularly like the one in Betty Crocker’s Indian Home Cooking. Madhur Jaffrey’s blend is quite nice and easy to make, too.
This recipe is designed for use in an Instant Pot, but you can easily adapt it to stove top cooking by lengthening the time you’ll simmer it once the pumpkin has been added. If you have a pressure cooker that’s not an instant pot, you can pressure cook the soup for about 10 minutes, then check to ensure the pumpkin is soft. I have not tried this in a slow cooker, but I reckon that on high it’d take about 4 hours or so to cook to the point where the pumpkin is soft. The key is that you simmer or cook the soup long enough to soften the pumpkin so you can easily blend it before serving.
- 4 Cloves
- 2 Cinnamon sticks
- 1-2 inches (25-50 ml) fresh Ginger root (about 2 tbsp or 30 ml)
- 2 tsp (10 ml) Turmeric
- 1 onion, approximately 1 cup (240 ml)
- 1/2 medium sized Pie Pumpkin
- 1 tsp (5 ml) Salt (preferably sea salt, less if iodized)
- 2 quarts (1.8 l) Soup Stock plus 2 cups (480 ml) Water
- 4 tbsp (60 ml) Sour Cream
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) Garam Masala
- 2 Allspice berries
- 3 Chilies Japones or Arbol
- 2 cloves Garlic
- Olive oil or your favorite cooking oil (or ghee)
- Cutting board
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Spoon for stirring
- Instant pot (or pot and stove top if desired)
- Stick blender or other blender
- Fry the cloves, cinnamon sticks, and allspice in the oil until they begin to swell slightly and the cinnamon sticks open.
- Add the dried chilies and fry until they begin to expand and puff up.
- Add the ginger and fry until the ginger picks up brown spots.
- Add the garlic and fry until you begin to smell it.
- Add the onion and fry until the onion is soft.
- Add the turmeric and fry a moment longer.
- Add the pumpkin, soup stock, and water.
- For Instant pot – Cook on Soup for 15 minutes. Or, for the stove top – On stove, simmer until the pumpkin is soft, approximately 20-30 minutes.
- Add the salt. Remove the cinnamon sticks.
- Using a stick blender or regular blender, blend the soup until it’s smooth.
- Add a small amount of the hot soup to the sour cream. Mix or whisk them until fully they’re blended. (The prevents the sour cream from curdling or getting chunky).
- Add the sour cream-soup mixture to the blended soup along with the garam masala.
- Add salt and black pepper to taste. Serve hot or cold.