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
Rinse the bulgur or quinoa under running water. Place in a bowl with 1 cup water.
Grind walnuts finely, without reducing to a purée.
Put oil, onions and leeks in a large pot and soften without browning (5-7 minutes).
Add diced pumpkin, spices, salt and pepper. Mix and continue steaming for 5 minutes.
Pour in stock. Bring to a boil, add ground nuts and the bulgur or quinoa. Cook covered for 20 minutes.
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.
Add rose petals to soup. Continue cooking another 10 minutes.
Dilute soup if necessary and incorporate honey, orange zest and bitter orange juice.
Serve in bowls then garnish with rose petals, herbs and a walnut.