Did you know eating pumpkin is a Sunnah? Karimah bint Dawoud, award-winning author and blogger, shares her recipe for a scrumptious pumpkin and vegetable soup.
Some people think of the pumpkin at Halloween, sitting on a window ledge with a scary face cut out of it to ward away the Jinn and evil spirits that may be be walking round on the celebration of all hallows’ eve. However, as Muslims we see this lovely autumn/fall vegetable as one of the favourite foods of our beloved Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of The Creator be upon him, ameen.
He, peace be upon him, loved pumpkin so much that he would eat it over the meat in a stew or he ate it first-as is the correct way to help digestion: eat the veggies before the meat.
As narrated by Anas who said,
“I saw the Prophet being served with soup and containing gourd (pumpkin or squash) and cured meat, and I saw him picking and eating the pieces of gourd.”
- Bukhari Volume 7, Book 65, Number 348.
Pumpkin is cold and dry and relieves the heat of an inflamed stomach. It’s high in fibre so it’s good for the heart and digestion. It is also high in potassium and vitamin C, which is good to boost the immune system.
Its “coldness” is harmful to one part of the stomach so tradition and science calls for it to be eaten with something like onions or ginger (Zanjabeel), that is moist in the first degree and hot in the second. Ginger aids the digestion and is also good for the liver; it’s also an aphrodisiac and should be eaten proportionately if you are not ill.
Pumpkin seeds good for the prevention of prostate diseases and associated urinary problems. They contain L-Tryptophan, a natural preventative against depression. They also contain high levels of zinc that protects against osteoarthritis, and are anti-inflammatory without the side effects of drugs. Eat them freshly scooped with yoghurt or dried and roasted with sunflower seeds.
Recipe serves 2 • Cooking time 45 mins • Vegetarian/Halal
• 2-5 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
• 2 medium onions, peeled and quartered (1 extra for caramelising)
• 3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
• 1-2 cups of chopped, de-seeded pumpkin (keep the seeds)
• 1 parsnip chopped (optional)
• 3-5 cloves of garlic, chop and leave for 1 minute to process
• 3 fresh parsley stalks
• 1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
• 1 teaspoon of sea salt
• 1-3 dried bay leaf
• 1 teaspoon crushed cumin seeds (jeera)
- Put all the ingredients except the pumpkin into a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes.
- Let the vegetables cool for 5 minutes. Take out the bay leaves and then blitz with a hand-held blender or pour into a jug blender and blitz until smooth.
- Pour the soup back into the saucepan and add the pumpkin chunks. Cook on medium heat and covered for another 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, shallow fry a sliced onion in vegetable oil for approximately 5 minutes till it starts to brown. Add cumin seeds and fry and stir till golden brown. Set aside on a plate.
- Now add 2 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds to the pan and fry till they begin to pop and turn light brown. Be careful not to burn them.
- Ladle the soup into a bowl, add the onion-cumin masala, sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and add a splash of olive oil. Serve with lemons wedges.
This soup makes you feel all warm and cuddly inside. It’s healthy, low calorie, low cost and a gorgeous autumn soup that will definitely make you praise The Creator of all things natural.
Photo credit + Karimah bint Dawoud