Pumpkin, Spinach & Buttermilk Soup

There’s a contest on at CAL, that laid certain ingredient restrictions for qualifying entries. I chose to work with Pumpkin, Spinach and Cinnamon from the list.

It’s fun to try and make something when we don’t have a world of choices. I also believe we’re at our creative best when our options are restricted.

This soup won’t taste very good with rice or rotis IMO, even though it seems more like a curry. Might go well with Kerala parottas or Bengali lucchis – maida flatbreads of different sorts essentially.

It is low carb, somewhat nutritious, though it can support more vegetables to improve nutrition and quite low fat.


  • Main
    • Pumpkin, about 300gms, blended, with a little water
    • Spinach, handful, chopped
    • Buttermilk, Mother Dairy, masala version, 2 packets (400ml)
  • Flavours
    • Onions, 2 medium, finely sliced
    • Ginger, 3 tablespoons, grated
    • Mustard seeds, 3 teaspoons
    • Urad dal, 3 teaspoons
    • Cinnamon, 1/4th teaspoon
    • Green chilies, 6 pieces, slit
    • Black peppercorns, 1 tsp, pounded fine
    • Hing powder 1/2 tsp (not pure resin)
    • Red chilies, dried
  • 3 tsp cornstarch mixed with cold water
  • Finish
    • Garam Masala
    • Salt to taste
    • Coriander, fresh, for garnish


  1. Heat oil, splutter mustard, brown the urad dal, fry the ginger, hing, dried red chilies, fresh green chilies and curry leaves.
  2. Add the onions, fry till beginning to brown at the edges.
  3. Add the pumpkin, mix well, add the buttermilk. Thicken with cornstarch and mix well. Simmer 2 – 3 minutes.
  4. Bring to a boil. Add the spinach leaves, cinnamon, salt and garam masala per taste. Simmer 5 minutes. Mix well.
  5. Serve garnished with coriander leaves.


  • Thickening is to avoid the buttermilk splitting/curdling. If you’re alright with that, skip the cornstarch.
  • Cream can taste nice in this. If you do add cream, be careful of it splitting, both due to temperature, and acidity.
  • This soup supports more vegetables. Add as per cooking time required. For example, add carrots toward the middle and small broccoli florets towards the end.
  • Reduce chilies per taste. Keep in mind, chilies will reduce carb cravings.

Featured Recipes

Fish, Radish, Buttermilk

I found myself in a very comfortable place, where I was using the same ingredients over and over and quite happy doing so. Yesterday evening, I knew I had some fish in the freezer and what else would I do other than coat it in haldi, namak and mirch and shallow fry the lot and eat it with dal chawal, one of our favourite meals? A little thinking and this thought came up and it turned out to be light and delicious. I hope you like it too.

Here’s a quick video that might make the process clearer.


  • Fish, sliced and coated with a paste of haldi, namak, mirch, shallow fried on all sides until partially cooked. I used about 700 grams.
  • Radish leaves from 3 radishes, chopped
  • Radish root from 1 medium sized radish, finely sliced
  • Ginger, 1.5 inches, finely diced
  • Mustard seeds, 1.5 teaspoons
  • Kadi patta, 2 stems
  • Green chillies, 3, finely sliced
  • Masala Buttermilk, 600 ml (I used Mother Dairy)
  • Oil for initial frying


  1. Heat oil. Splutter mustard seeds. Add green chillies and kadi patta. Lightly fry.
  2. Add radish leaves. Saute for a while until significantly reduced in quantity. Add radish root, mix well.
  3. Place the partially fried fish in the pot.
  4. Add 3/4 of the buttermilk, leaving a little aside, keeping it warm.
  5. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the fish is cooked, whichever is earlier.
  6. Add the remaining buttermilk. Turn off the heat.
  7. Serve hot with rice.


  • I used Indian basa as my choice of fish. It has a nice bit of fat and is better than Vietnamese basa IMO.
  • Your haldi, namak, mirch paste can be of any proportion you like. I use 1 measure each of haldi and mirch, and half a measure of namak.
  • My fish were fried in mustard oil. You can use whatever you like.
  • Buttermilk splits while cooking. The reason for not adding the whole and keep part of it warm and adding that part at the end is an attempt at retaining some of the white colour. This is purely cosmetic. If it doesn’t matter to you, add all the buttermilk in one go.