Cook up something wonderful with your Halloween pumpkin(g), inspired by The King And I.
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So, who’s this King Andi anyway?
[Sigh…] No, it’s The King And I, the classic 1951 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, immortalised by Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner in the 1956 Oscar-winning movie and recently revived on Broadway to Tony-award winning glory.
Sounds like something wonderful. Tell me more.
Well, it’s based on the true story of Anna Leonowens who became a governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the 1860s. Margaret Langdon’s 1944 novelisation of these events (Anna And The King Of Siam) inspired Gertrude Lawrence’s agent to persuade Rodgers and Hammerstein to write the musical as a vehicle for a client, which they did. Rex Harrison had played the king in an earlier film of the story, but wasn’t available for the musical leading to the iconic casting of Brinner.
Nope. Never seen it.
Seriously?! Next you’ll be telling me you’ve never seen The Sounds Of Music ?!
Erm… what can I say… Siam what I am.
Shall I tell you what I think of you? Right – go on, do the recipe bit… that’s all you’re good for.
Keep your hair on, Yul! Go and whistle a happy tune…
This is a perfect super-easy recipe for using up your Halloween pumpkins and turning it into a delicious soup with Indian spices [Anna Leonowens was Anglo-Indian, in case you were wondering] – you can even roast the seeds for an additional garnish and snack. I used fresh chicken stock, but use whatever stock you would normally, just taste the soup before adding extra salt if using stock cubes. If you can’t get hold of garam masala, you could try adding a pinch of ground clove and a pinch of ground cinnamon. Add chilli if you want to give it a kick, but I’ve kept mine kiddy-friendly.
Cut up the pumpkin (which you’ve presumably gutted pre-Halloween – if you haven’t done that bit, set aside the seeds for roasting later) into chunks. Peeling the pumpkin or not is down to you – I tend to sieve the soup for a smoother texture, so it all comes out then anyway. Toss the pumpkin in a baking tray with the olive oil and a little salt, along with the onions (halved) and the peeled garlic cloves (tuck the garlic under pieces of pumpkin to stop them from scorching). Cover the tray in foil and bake in the oven for 45 mins to an hour until the pumpkin is tender, having removed the foil after 20 mins. Once roasted, add the pumpkin to the heated stock and blend using your preferred method. Sieve if liked before returning to the pan adding the spices and seasoning until you’re happy with the resulting soup.
To roast the pumpkin seeds, given them a quick rinse and dry them before tossing them in a little olive oil, salt and spices of your choice (more of the cumin and coriander would work well here). Spread the seeds out into a single layer on a baking tray and bake for about 45 mins.
Serve the soup, garnishing with sour cream, chopped cilantro/coriander leaf and roasted pumpkin seeds.
For the roast pumpkin seeds
If you loved this recipe, you might also like to whistle a happy tuna!!!