A true taste of autumn. In some countries, this time of year marks Hallowe’en and the pumpkin (balkabağı – honey squash) is synonymous with this festival. Well it is seasonal. For us in Fethiye, autumn is the time when the local pumpkins appear and we set to work making delicious recipes from it. Our pumpkin soup recipe (balkabağı çorbası) is a favourite!
Easy Pumpkin Soup Recipe
Most people know about the Fethiye market that happens every Tuesday; Salı Pazarı. But, there are also other, lower key markets around the area selling their seasonal goods. We’re regulars at the Çalış Sunday Market and also the Friday Village Market and it’s these two where you can often find little unexpected treats.
Sweet Tooth Or Savoury Tooth?
In the season that is the gold of autumn (sonbahar), all markets will be selling pumpkin. Turks generally use it to make a dessert (balkabağı tatlısı).
But, fortunately, they also love a good balkabağı çorbası (pumpkin soup recipe). If you know us, you’ll know we’re savoury people. Give us a pumpkin soup over a dessert any day!
Thanks For The Slices
A stack of huge, golden pumpkins for sale always looks more than impressive but we like to try and keep things simple in our house. We haven’t got kids. We don’t need to buy a whole pumpkin and painstakingly carve out the centre before making scary faces in it.
No; this is our food. We want tasty and we want easy.
Over the years, the stall holders on the markets have realised that people are busy and really haven’t got the time or the patience (and death wish) to take a knife and hack away at a pumpkin just to make a meal.
We are eternally grateful to those stall holders who cut their pumpkins into segments for novices like us. We’re even more grateful when, on a rare occasion, we see a stall selling bite-sized chunks of peeled pumpkin already bagged up. Wonderful!
Let’s Make Pumpkin Soup
So, if you’ve got lots of leftover pumpkin from making Hallowe’en lanterns or you’re like us and you just love to buy pumpkin for its edible delights, let’s make a simple pumpkin soup.
We’re going to be using spices, of course. Toasted spices that are going to make this an aromatic pumpkin soup. They’re so important to the flavour. If you’re thinking cream, well that’s not going to happen. We’ve got enough vices in our life without adding cream to a soup taste rich.
No, we’re relatively fat free on this one. But this pumpkin soup recipe is definitely in the comfort food zone and most definitely full of punch.
Here goes: Balkabağı çorbasi – a healthy recipe for pumpkin soup.
Spicy Pumpkin Soup Recipe - A Taste Of Autumn
- 1 kilo pumpkin or butternut squash flesh, cubed
- 1 medium-sized potato peeled & cubed
- 1 onion peeled & roughly chopped
- 1 small handful of red lentils
For The Toasted Spices
- 2 cardamom pods
- 2 fennel seeds
- ½ tsp black peppercorns
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- First of all, grind all your spices together in a pestle and mortar.
- Discard the cases of the cardamom pods, leaving the seeds behind.
- Add the spices to pan and heat on a low light.
- Stir around for a couple of minutes until you can sense the spicy aroma.
- Now add a glug of olive oil and your pumpkin, potatoes, lentil and onion.
- Stir around and then add hot water or stock - enough to cover your ingredients.
- Stir around and increase the heat to bring your water to a boil.
- Reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer for around 30 minutes, until your ingredients have softened.
- Once cooked, remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.
- Blend your pumpkin soup until smooth and serve with chilli flakes on top if required.
- It is fine to just add water to your pumpkin soup but vegetable or chicken stock will be extra tasty.
- Butternut squash makes a good substitute for your pumpkin soup if you can't get pumpkin.
- As with all our recipes, the calories per serving of pumpkin soup are meant as a general guide.
Time To Serve Your Pumpkin Soup
We’re full of good intentions and make every effort not to overindulge in the supreme Turkish bread. However, This is autumn. The nights are drawing in and it’s a bit chilly out there.
What else are you going to do, eh? Ladle that steaming pumpkin soup into your bowl and cut (or tear) yourself a few wedges of that fresh bread. Sprinkle some chill flakes on top of your soup if so desired and feel the comfort of autumn as you enjoy this wholesome seasonal pumpkin soup.