Pumpkin Soup and Vegan Paella – Much in common

It has been some time since I shared a recipe with my readers in Our Frontcover. The recipes I have for you today are filled with nutrition, packed with healthy ingredients and have humble origins.

Pumpkin soup originates from Haiti,the history of pumpkin soup begins with the celebration of Haitian Independence in 1804. On Jan. 1, 1804, Haitians worked together to create a unique soup to celebrate their independence from the French Colonists. Until then the Colonists believed that the blacks under their rule could never work together to create anything. Today, the traditional pumpkin soup known as "soup joumou," is made and served in Haiti in remembrance of their fight for freedom.
However this is my interpretation with a lot of customization so much so that I can have a copyright on this recipe.

Pumpkin n Pea soup

Pumpkin – 2 cups,
Green pea- 1 cup,
3 Garlic cloves chopped
One red onion diced.
Olive oil – 1 tbsp,
Provence de herbs- 1/2 Tspn,
Black pepper and salt to taste.

Caramalize the pumpkin


Take a pot and heat oil. Add onion n garlic,sautée for 2-3 minutes then add diced red pumpkin and pea.

Now sauté this until you get a light golden crust on your pumpkin cubes( thiscaramelization will intensify the flavour in soup). Now add about 3 cups of water, reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer. After 10 mins or so turn off the heat and allow it cool then make a purée with the help of stick blender. Add salt, pepper, seasoning and then bring it to boil for couple of minutes.

Taste and adjust salt.

Garnish your soup with spring onions, any green or red leafy vegetable and drizzle some truffle oil or use a dash of fresh cream.

Serve hot.

Health benefit to keep in mind
A cup of cooked, pumpkin can cover over 100% of your daily needs for vitamin A, 20% of the daily requirement for vitamin C, 10% or more for vitamin E, riboflavin, potassium, copper and manganese and at least 5% for thiamin, B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, niacin, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. Pumpkin is good for heart, the antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene has shown to support eye health and prevent degenerative damage. Also pumpkin with its nutrient contains is a great immunity booster.

The other recipe is that of Paella a Spanish staple;it was originally a farmers’ food, cooked by the workers over a wood fire for the lunchtime meal. It was made with rice, plus whatever was at handin the fields and countryside: tomatoes, onions and snails, with a few beans added for flavor. Rabbit or duck might also have been added, and for special occasions, chicken plus a string of saffron for an extra special colour and flavour.

Valencia in Eastern Spain is the undisputed home of paella. ’Paella’ or to be more exact ‘la paella’ is the name for the cooking pan itself and not the dish. It’s an old Valencian word and probably has its roots in the Latin ‘patella’ meaning pan

My version uses no rice and is again an unique recipe by yours truly!

Paella ready to be served

Vegan Paella recipe

Candle millet/ dark Millet or Kambu – 1 cup
Cherry tomatoes, – 1 cup
5 Garlic cloves chopped,
1 medium size grated carrot
Salt and pepper to taste,
1/2 Tspn- oregano,
2 cups chopped mushrooms (mix of cremini, oyster and porcini),
1 large onion diced,
2-3tbsp extra virgin olive oil & fresh fenugreek leaves for garnish.

Candle Millet or Kambu


Heat oil in a heavy bottom base pan and add onion and garlic cloves sauté till translucent then add grated carrot and mixed mushrooms and sauté for about 3 mins over medium high heat and then add millet.

Mix well and stir constantly, then reduce the flame to low.

Now sauté for about 2 mins then add about 3 cups of water and salt to taste, crushed black pepper , cherry tomatoes and dry oregano.

Cover the pan and let it simmer for about 15 -20mins (make sure to check millet/ Kambu every 5 mins ).

If needed add some more water but make sure you add only little at a time,candle millet/ Kambu doesn’t really absorb water easily and you don’t want to eat soggy paella.

I enjoy eating al Dante if you like fully cooked then let it simmer for extra 5-8 mins. Adjust Salt and pepper before turning off the heat.

Garnish with fresh fenugreek leaves and drizzle some Evoo( extra virgin olive oil).

Serve hot.

Health benefit to keep in mind
Millet contains some very important nutrients; copper, manganese, phosphorus and magnesium. Magnesium his known to reduce the severity of asthma and to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. It also lowers high blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart attack, especially in people with atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease.

  • Written byNeelima Sriram

    Food Stylist, Neelima Sriram, expert in vegetarian & vegan international cuisine. Over the years her passion led her to research the chemistry of spices and ingredients to create traditional, contemporary, yet nutritious recipes. Involved in the food industry since 2000. She has successfully run a catering business in Central Asia, taught cooking in Canada and now continuing in Chennai. Recently she launched “Mindful Chef",www.facebook.com/MindfulChef1 which counsels on healthy food choices, sustainability in eating practices. In Canada, Neelima was a regular at cooking shows in specialized studios and TV. Recognizing her talent, local TV interviewed her for “Woman in Focus”. She is a certified food stylist from Denise Vivaldo of Los Angeles, US


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