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Uzbek style pumpkin soup

Uzbek style pumpkin soup

This soup has an unusual yet surprisingly flavorful fragrance and was inspired by a traditional recipe from the surrounding regions of the Caspian Sea.


  • ¾ cup bulgur or white quinoa
  • 1½ cup walnuts
  • ¼ cup olive oil or clarified butter
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • ½ leek white, sliced
  • 5 cups cubed pumpkin
  • 2 Tbsp dry ginger, ground
  • 1 4-inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 Tbsp black Uzbek cumin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Korean pepper 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1 tsp rose petals or 1 tsp rose water 
  • ¼ cup rice or rice flour (opt.)
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp grated orange zest
  • Juice of 3 bitter oranges or 1 grapefruit + 1 orange


  • Rose petals
  • Choice of herbs
  • Walnuts


  1. 1

    Rinse the bulgur or quinoa under running water. Place in a bowl with 1 cup water.  

  2. 2

    Grind walnuts finely, without reducing to a purée.

  3. 3

    Put oil, onions and leeks in a large pot and soften without browning (5-7 minutes).

  4. 4

    Add diced pumpkin, spices, salt and pepper. Mix and continue steaming for 5 minutes.

  5. 5

    Pour in stock. Bring to a boil, add ground nuts and the bulgur or quinoa. Cook covered for 20 minutes.

  6. 6

    For a thicker soup: grind rice into a powder using a coffee/spice grinder. Put a ladle of liquid from the soup in a bowl and incorporate powdered rice. Pour into the soup and mix well.

  7. 7

    Add rose petals to soup. Continue cooking another 10 minutes.

  8. 8

    Dilute soup if necessary and incorporate honey, orange zest and bitter orange juice.

  9. 9

    Serve in bowls then garnish with rose petals, herbs and a walnut.