Fusion Friday: Pumpkin curry soup

As we mentioned briefly in this month’s culinary history post, one of the biggest influences on Australian cuisine in the last century has been the large number of immigrants from Asia. This has lead to a blending of Chinese and Indian flavors with tropical and bush ingredients and traditional British dishes. Many of the dishes that are now considered “traditional” Aussie foods actually originate from this pairing. Just like in England, Indian curries have become so prevalent that many Australians consider it their “comfort food.”

Here in Atlanta, we’ve been having a freak cool spell brought on by all the rain: Instead of the usual 100-degree August days, we’ve had several in the high 60s and low 70s. When you add in the unseasonable wind, it truly does feel like fall. And what better way to celebrate fall than with the ultimate autumnal ingredient, pumpkin? Pumpkin curry soups are very common in Australia, and a quick search yields tons of recipes. Here’s the one I’ll be making this weekend, from Allrecipes Australia:

Pumpkin Curry Soup

(from Allrecipes Australia)

Ingredients

Serves : 3

  • 1 pumpkin, kabocha or butternut
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions

Preparation:15min  ›  Cook:45min  ›  Ready in:1hour

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Peel and halve the onion.
  3. Mix the melted butter with the curry powder and brush over the cut sides of the pumpkin and onion. Place them cut-side down on a baking tray and bake until the pumpkin is soft, about 45 minutes.
  4. Puree the pumpkin and onion in a blender with the chicken stock. Reheat in the pan, adding more stock if you like it thinner. Test for salt, and add cayenne pepper to taste. Serve with a dollop of plain yoghurt.

Gazpacho

My mom absolutely loves tomato soup. But the hot Southern weather means that she can only eat it a few months out of the year – after all, who wants hot soup when you’re dripping with sweat? Of course, leave it to the Spaniards to come up with the perfect solution: gazpacho, a chilled tomato soup. It’s one of the most famous Spanish dishes, and is the perfect dish for a hot summer day. Here’s a recipe from Food and Wine.com.

Rustic Gazpacho

Ingredients

  1. 6 ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks
  2. 1/2 large cucumber—peeled, halved, seeded and cut into chunks
  3. 1 green bell pepper, cut into chunks
  4. 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  5. 1 cup water
  6. 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  7. 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  8. Salt
  9. Hot sauce, for serving

Directions

  1. In a blender or food processor, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, garlic, water, oil and vinegar and process until coarsely pureed. Season with salt and refrigerate until chilled. Serve with hot sauce.
MAKE AHEAD The gazpacho can be refrigerated overnight.