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Asma Khan’s Kaddu Nariyal Shorba: Pumpkin Coconut Soup

Asma Khan presents an autumnal classic with a difference with her take on pumpkin soup. Delicately spiced and enriched with coconut, this recipe is totally vegan.

From the book

Asma Khan


Nothing had prepared me for the damp, cold winters of Cambridge. I wanted to make this soup not just because it was warming and comforting, but because I also got a lot of free pumpkins from the market on my first Hallowe’en in England. I was surprised to see the number of pumpkins on sale. The shop owner gave me a free one to take home as he was amused that I did not know anything about Hallowe’en! After that, I would buy a pumpkin from him whenever I saw him. I made a lot of pumpkin soup in the first autumn after I moved to England. In Bengal, the most prized pumpkin is a variety with sweet, deep-orange flesh, and this soup does taste best when made with a sweeter variety of pumpkin. The combination of pumpkin and coconut works beautifully here with the flavours of fennel seeds and dried red chillies.

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2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 dried red chillies, broken
2 heaped tbsp fennel seeds
1 star anise
20g white onion, chopped
4-cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
6 large garlic cloves, crushed
750g pumpkin (preferably an orange-fleshed variety), peeled and chopped into chunks
1 tsp salt
200ml thick coconut milk (tinned)
sugar, to taste
coconut cream, to garnish


Warm the oil in a large pan over a medium– high heat. In quick succession, add the broken dried chillies, fennel seeds and star anise, followed by the onion, ginger and garlic, then cook, stirring, for a few minutes. Stir in the pumpkin and add enough warm water to cover, along with the salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15–20 minutes until the pumpkin is tender.

Use a hand blender to whizz the contents of the pan until smooth.

Put the pan back over a low heat to warm through. Stir in the coconut milk, then taste for seasoning, adding sugar and salt to suit your taste.

Serve in bowls, with some coconut cream swirled on top of the soup.


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From the book: Ammu: Indian Home-Cooking To Nourish Your Soul

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