Pumpkin takes the soup crown – again
Prepared to be bowled over. Google has ladled up New Zealand’s top 10 soup recipe search habits and the winner, for the third consecutive year, is pumpkin. But the perennial favourite shouldn’t rest on its laurels.
Broccoli has surged into third spot (from 10th place last year) and, for the first time, international favourites from Japan and Thailand have made the top 10 list, with miso and tom yum soups coming into ninth and 10th place, respectively.
Traditional vegetables including potato, leek and onion have all dropped out off the list.
Annabelle White, celebrity cook and food writer, says it’s about time broccoli took a star turn.
‘‘I tour the country with my broccoli soup. It’s a super food! But it’s really important not to overcook it. If you do that, it changes colour and it starts to look like the Rotorua thermal hot pools.’’
White’s secret? Really good chicken stock – and a hunk of blue cheese in the bottom of the bowl.
Meanwhile, Masu restaurant’s Nic Watt says he’s not surprised to see miso in the list. Masu, the Aucklandbased Japanese eatery named Cuisine magazine’s 2014’s new restaurant of the year, adds Cloudy Bay clams to its $8.90 miso offering, but Watt says the basic soup is easy to make at home.
‘‘My 72-year-old mum does a restaurant grade miso with a coffee plunger. If you can make a good strong builder’s tea, you can make restaurant grade miso.’’
New Zealanders have a long connection with the pumpkin, says John Seymour, Wellington-based senior business manager with Vegetables NZ.
‘‘In the pre-war days, when there was a lot of poverty, it was a lowcost way of providing food. It has longevity. The pumpkin was something that sat in your shed, and if you were ever short of something, the easy solution was to make pumpkin soup. Broccoli is more of a new food – the volume being purchased and consumed has increased significantly over the past few years.’’
Sid Sahrawat, of Auckland’s Sidart restaurant, says his top tip for pumpkin is to add a little bit of cardamom.
‘‘It makes it a lot more exciting.’’
For 6-8 servings. 1kg pumpkin 2 onions, chopped 2 cups water 2 cloves garlic, chopped 2 tsp chicken or vegetable stock powder 2 tsp sugar 1⁄ tsp grated nutmeg
2 2-3 cups milk Salt, pepper and sugar Cut the unpeeled pumpkin into chunks. Scrape away and discard the seeds and stringy part. Put all the other ingredients except the milk and final seasonings into a saucepan, lay the pieces of pumpkin on top, cover and simmer until the onion and pumpkin are tender. Do not overcook the pumpkin or it will darken and lose some of its appeal. Lift the pieces of pumpkin onto a large plate or board. As soon as they are cool enough to work with, scoop the cooked flesh back into the onion mixture and discard the skin. Puree the pumpkin mixture. Before serving, thin the puree to the desired consistency with milk, adding a little cream if you want extra richness. Season carefully. Reheat and serve. Variations include: a little blue cheese, bacon and spring onion, parmesan cheese, garlic and ginger, Thai green curry paste and coconut cream.
Pumpkin soup is the most Googled soup recipe in New Zealand.