In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

A Creamy Caribbean Curry Pumpkin Soup.


making curry pumpkin soupThough I’m a SOLID food kinda guy, I’m starting to really appreciate soups. As we’ve discussed in previous posts, the traditional soups in the Caribbean are very heavy, thick and full of carbs. Our soups are what would be seen as being “stews” in North America and is meant to be a true meal in one pot. But lately I’ve been experimenting with lighter (belly wash as my dad call them) soups, where the ingredient list is not overly complex.Simple and made from a few ingredients so you can really appreciate the main ingredient.

I first had this soup a few years ago while in Trinidad, but I can’t remember the name of the restaurant where we had lunch (some where in Port Of Spain)… I probably had some “beverages” that same day so the memory isn’t all that clear. After a few tries I came up with a recipe that’s as close to the real thing as far as I can remember.

You’ll Need…

1 medium onion diced
1 celery stalk diced
1 carrot diced
2 cloves of garlic diced
1/4 cup of butter (about 1/2 a stick)
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon curry powder
3 cups pumpkin – peeled and diced
1/4 cup cream
water (about 3-4 cups)
Salt (about 1/2 teaspoon)
black pepper

IMPORTANT NOTE: I tried my best to get the sort of pumpkin we get in the Caribbean, but the Asian stall at the farmers market didn’t have any. I then tried a couple Caribbean food stores without any luck so I ended up using a sort of squash-like version. Though they probably belong to the same family, it’s really not the same as the real thing. Yes, squash will work, but the flavour and consistency does differ a bit. BTW, here’s a pic of sliced pumpkins at the San Fernando Market (Trinidad) that I took back in October 2009. You can view a lot more pics I took that day on the picture feed for the site (go a couple pages deep)

trinidad fresh cut pumpkin

Start by putting the butter to melt on medium heat in a deep pot (on high heat the butter will burn very quickly). Then add the onions, carrots, garlic and celery to the pot. Allow this to cook until the onion is tender (about 3-5 minutes). Then add a dash of black pepper, the curry powder and turmeric… allow to cook for about 3 minutes. Quite honestly the aroma that comes out of this is probably the BEST I’ve smelled in quite some time.

how to make pumpkin soup

trini pumpkin soup

trinidad soup recipe

Now we’ll add the cubed pieces of pumpkin and stir around. Then add enough water to cover the pumpkin, bring to a boil, then back down to a simmer (I used about 3 1/2 cups of water). Add the salt, cover and let cook on low heat for about 30 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender. If you find that it’s going thick, add a bit more water and/or turn down the heat a bit.

pumpkin soup

curried pumpkin soup

pumpkin soup recipe

The final step is to add the cream and blend or puree the entire thing into a smooth soup. I used one of those immersion blenders to get the smooth consistency I was looking for. A couple tips if you’re using one… 1. Try to pulse to avoid the soup going frothy. 2. Rinse the blender off with water first before putting it into the soup. The turmeric can stain the blender, if yours is as white as mine. Yea, we got the cheaper plastic version and not the stainless steel one. You can also use a whisk or pour the entire thing into a regular blender or food processor if you wish. Bear in mind that you’re working with a hot liquid.

recipe for trinidad pumpkin soup

trinidad curry pumpkin soup

jamaican pumpkin soup

Next time I’ll be sure to get some of the authentic Caribbean type pumpkin to really test the difference in the final taste as compared to using the squash. I’ll also be testing using a combination of cream and coconut cream as I’m sure it will work well with the curry in this dish.

BTW, if you can’t get cream, I’m sure evaporated milk will work just as well.

Do you have a different version or a tip about this recipe you’d like to share? Please leave a comment in the area provided below.

happy cooking

chris…

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40 Comments

  1. STANLEY SOMAN
    September 26, 2020 / 12:46 pm

    Used caribbean pumpkin with pimento (pepper but not hot but flavourful). I precooked and seasoned corn and added it in after the puree. Fantastic results.

  2. Linda Brandt Stidd
    July 17, 2018 / 4:40 pm

    Is that callabaza squash? Sounds good

  3. Bella
    September 27, 2016 / 1:34 pm

    I often add acup of lentils or a cup of rice. End of the month food.

  4. Delia Sookhoo
    February 9, 2015 / 9:53 am

    I omitted the curry and added one salted pig tail cut into four pieces. Pre boil the pig tail and reserve the water for the broth, no salt will be needed…Good Trinidadian flava!

  5. Monica Aqui-Lalgee
    November 10, 2013 / 10:31 pm

    I tried this but replaced the Cream with Coconut Cream- what a great soup. Since then I’ve done it again and it will be on the Thanksgiving Menu.
    Thanks for a new menu item.

  6. October 8, 2013 / 1:39 pm

    Love your recipes. I use pretty much the same ingredients in my pumpkin soup, except that I add thyme and coconut milk and when it is done I grate a little nutmeg into the soup turn in in and serve hot.
    Wishing you continued success.

  7. Lyne
    March 20, 2013 / 7:09 pm

    Thank you thank you thank you! I am a Canadian, that is Caribbean at heart, but just can't cook like you, try as I might. ( Canadian food is sooo boring)! You have helped me immensely with your delicious recipes. I especially love the dalpuri roti recipe.

  8. Jourdan
    November 18, 2012 / 2:09 pm

    Very good, I added just a touch of ginger and sugar as well.

  9. Claudette Aberdeen
    April 10, 2012 / 5:56 pm

    Hey Chris,
    Lovely looking soup, I had some like that today but without the cream. Never heard of using cream in soup before. BTW, on March 28, 2012 I received an urgent email from 'Caribbean pot' to nominate you in the Annual Saveur blog. I did without hesitation, but I have been receiving recipes from Saveur that I have not requested. Did the urgent mail really come from you or did someone hack into your website? Please respond, I feel as if I've been tricked.

  10. Nathalie
    February 5, 2012 / 7:02 pm

    It looks wonderful,,,I have to try this one.

    Nathalie

  11. kathleen archer
    February 2, 2012 / 12:18 am

    hey this soup is really nice,the only thing i did when making mines
    instead of 1tbs of saffron i put 2tsp 2 1/2tsp salt and 1tsp sugar,plus a small piece of ginger and i loved it
    thanks

  12. Pauline
    September 22, 2011 / 3:59 pm

    Nice soup. We call it Jamaican pumpkin here in the Cayman Islands. Added a bit of scotch bonnet to liven it up ad served wth water crackers. Thanks for the recipe.

  13. Jennfromoz
    July 3, 2011 / 4:21 am

    i'm a big fan of pumkin soup especially in the winter months, and this is such an easy to follow recipe, not too complicated (right up my ally) am cooking it for the 2nd time as i type, we have a large variety of pumkin in Oz, am using a japanese pumkin this time and i use good ole Keens curry, but some of the alternatives above sound great, might have to do some experimenting lol
    oh and thanks for the tip re the mixer thingy, mine is white as well lol
    cheers 🙂

  14. Frauke
    January 18, 2011 / 6:35 pm

    I use the Hokkaido pumpkin for the soup. They are smaller bright orange or green. They work really well, and you don't need to peel them, the outside cooks tender. I add a big soupspoon of Biriyani paste (Indian curry paste) and sometimes little red lentils.
    I also add coconut milk and coriander, because we don't have Shadon beni here. The rest is like your recipe, the carrot, the onion , garlic etc.

    • jumbieg
      January 19, 2011 / 7:53 am

      thanks for the tip.

  15. Burl Wille
    December 10, 2010 / 8:08 am

    thanks for that dude! awesome idea, interesting read. i been trying to convince my mates that we should have a proper curry night-in instead of going out every week, and actually did it last week. effin great success it was. who said guys cant cook!

  16. Vanessa
    December 6, 2010 / 8:28 am

    My sister uses english potato in her pumpkin soup. No carrots, no tumeric. Stock instead of water, coconut milk instead of cream and a hint of cayenne pepper. This makes a great “comfort food.”

  17. mrbill05
    November 18, 2010 / 9:22 am

    Wonderful soup!

    We think we might have found a close relative to the pumpkin pictured at the Sen Fernando Market in Trinidad here in Massachusetts – the local farm stand called it a "Blue Pumpkin."

    See http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h10/mrbill05/pu… .

    (Also, a blue hubbard squash might be a close match as well.)

    -mr. bill

  18. Joy
    May 25, 2010 / 2:19 am

    Plan on trying this when I go on summer break.

    • June 23, 2010 / 10:02 pm

      Do let me know how it turns out and your opinon

  19. April 29, 2010 / 3:50 pm

    PS – you are so right… the type of vegetable or pumpkin will make a huge difference … just like the red peppers in Easter Europe are so much drier with a far greater depth and breadth of flavour.

    • June 23, 2010 / 10:04 pm

      I didn't know that about the peppers.. thanks for that tip.

  20. April 29, 2010 / 3:47 pm

    HI, Chris!
    This soup looks luscious. Is this curry the Indian curry? We have so many different curries in Canada – or is it a Carribean curry? What are the spices in the curry?
    🙂
    Valerie

    • June 23, 2010 / 10:03 pm

      I usually get my curry from the Caribbean, but I've also found that most Caribbean curry powders are not the same. I'm not sure what the difference in ingredients are, but I do know the flavour and scent is totally different than the East Indian curry.

  21. April 27, 2010 / 8:55 pm

    Thanks for the great post! You have a new fan.

  22. April 24, 2010 / 7:54 pm

    Hi Charmaine from Barbados, I usually prepare my pumpkin soup with an english potato or a couple pieces fo sweet potato rather than cream, milk or curry (which I am allergic too).

    Puree in food processor and add a dash or two of grated nutmeg.

    The nutmeg adds an interesting twist.

  23. April 12, 2010 / 8:17 pm

    The version of pumpkin that you are speaking of is called calabaza. In Martinique it's called giromom. Of course here at home we just call it pumpkin but it is different from the North American pumpkin

    • April 18, 2010 / 12:02 am

      thanks for the lesson… maybe I'll use this as an excuse to go down to the islands 🙂

  24. Charmaine
    April 8, 2010 / 3:53 pm

    Hi Charmaine from Barbados, I usually prepare my pumpkin soup with an english potato or a couple pieces fo sweet potato rather than cream, milk or curry (which I am allergic too).

    Puree in food processor and add a dash or two of grated nutmeg.

    The nutmeg adds an interesting twist.

    • April 18, 2010 / 12:01 am

      Thanks for the tip..t eh sweet potato and nutmeg seems like a good pair to add to this. I'll have to give this a try. hopefully I can get "real" pumpkin for this one

      • Beena
        June 18, 2010 / 9:54 am

        Nutmeg or even a pinch of ginger makes average pumpkin soup extraordinary. I'll try this becasue it is simpler than mine which calls for raosting teh pumpkin ina ver hot oven first.

    • Lesley
      March 18, 2022 / 8:43 pm

      Replace cream with coconut milk. Add potatoes and/or sweet potatoes and a handful of lentils. Blends to a lovely consistency

  25. April 4, 2010 / 12:53 pm

    Pumpkin soup! I've tried so many versions of pumpkin soup but I havent really found one that I would love the most. Hope this one is it! Thanks for sharing this 🙂 more power!

    • April 18, 2010 / 12:00 am

      Let me know what you think after you've given it a try.

    • April 4, 2010 / 2:14 pm

      crab meat.. now that sounds like something I'll have to try as I love pumpkin cooked with shrimp.

      Happy Easter

      Chris..

  26. April 3, 2010 / 5:09 pm

    this sounds good – i don't often make soups but i do like creamy pumpkin soups!

    • April 4, 2010 / 2:13 pm

      just remember to use actual pumpkin and not squash as I did.. much better end result.

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