A Year Of... interesting things

Moroccan Pumpkin Soup - Chorbat al Qara'a

As far as pumpkin soups go, this is easy and different enough to warrant a place on the fall-dishes list.

The pumpkin or butternut squash base brings some sweetness, which is well counter by the traditional Moroccan mix of Ras El Hanout, with its cumin, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg creating a symphony of flavor.

Moroccan Pumpkin Sour - Chorbat al Qara'a

I made mine with butternut squash; not sure if pumpkin would be easier to use - they both have their challenges.

However, if pumpking is used, make sure it’s not the decorative kind, the one used for Jack O’ Lanterns, but the one used for pies and other dishes.


The recipe is fairly quick, but it does require a lot of hands-on step, interrupted by short hands-off time. There’s also a middle step where we’re blending hot mixture, which should be executed with care.

All in all, I’d say about 30 minutes, if most of the ingredients are prepared before time.

The pumpkin/butternut squash preparation will be the most time consuming.


  • 3 1/2 cups (I-inch) cubed peeled fresh pumpkin or butternut squash (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • 2 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 1 3/4 cups diced yellow onion
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon Ras El Hanout (see below for preparation)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 teaspoons plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

Ras El Hanout

Fair warning - makes a lot more than what’s needed for this recipe and can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a month or perhaps even more.

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg


  1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil.
    Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  2. Place half of squash mixture in a blender.
    Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender.
    Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters), blend until smooth.
    Pour pureed mixture into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining squash mixture.
  3. Return pureed mixture to pan over low heat.
    Add milk and butter to pan; cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
  4. Serve with yogurt and cilantro.

Serves 8 (serving size: about 2/3 cup soup, 1 teaspoon yogurt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cilantro)

  • calories 91;
  • fat 2.3g (sat 1.3g, mono 0.6g, poly og);
  • protein 2.2g;
  • carb 174g;
  • fiber 2.8g;
  • chol 6mg;
  • iron 0.9mg;
  • sodium 392mg;
  • calc 84mg.
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