And now I would like you to meet my favourite maungu soup recipe. It’s super creamy, very rich in vitamins and gently spiced.
My mother fed us lots of maungu (pumpkin) using many different recipes. All credit to her! In Malawi maungu is one of the staple foods even though it’s seasonally grown. But it is a reliable food source and so we Malawians eat it at breakfast, brunch and dinner. It is also a trendy street food! You can just pick up maungu from your garden and eat them fresh, or you can preserve them for the summer and autumn.
During the non-growing season we eat a lot of roast maungu. As it has been preserved for longer, it is believed that roasting brings out more flavour and texture. And those that know how to make a nice good maungu soup, know that roasted is one of the favourite and most high end versions.
My siblings and I loved our maungu. We were so lucky because our mother owned a farm and we had so many to choose from. And she always knew the best way to cook them!
And I can’t complain about having this soup once a week because it reminds me, not just of my mother, but also my grandmother Anasimango. She is in her late eighties and sure she’s still enjoying this soup.
Here in Ireland where it’s called pumpkin, I always pick mine up from Smithfield Market. This is the best place to get fresh and tasty pumpkins. The ones I use are Brazilian and their texture is filling and very tasty. I love them a lot as they remind me of the organic and creamy pumpkins we got from my mother’s farm.
- A 4-pound Brazilian pumpkin
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon of crushed garlic
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped white onion
- A pinch of salt
- Pinch of preferred dried herbs, if required
- Half a glass of water
- 1 tin of coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
- Chopped beetroot
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees and line a baking tray with parchment/baking paper (for easy cleanup).
Wash your pumpkin thoroughly and dry with a kitchen towel.
Carefully halve the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds (you can roast the seeds if you’d like but you won’t need them for this recipe). Cut the pumpkin in half again.
Brush or rub 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the flesh of the pumpkin and place the quarters, cut sides down, onto the baking sheet. There is no need to remove the skin at this stage.
Roast for 45 minutes or longer if needed, until the flesh is easily pierced through with a fork. Set it aside to cool for a few minutes.
Turn your stove onto a high heat. Place 1 tablespoon of coconut oil into a large pot. (You could also use 3 tablespoons of olive oil).
Once the oil is shimmering, add the garlic, onion, and salt to the pot. You can also add a pinch of your favourite dried herbs here too. I occasionally use garlic powder. Stir to combine and add half a glass of water.
Add the tin of coconut milk and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the brown sugar and cook for another two minutes. Keep stirring!
Gently scoop the pumpkin out and into the pot, and place the skin aside if you wish to use them like me later. Mix everything gently.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, to give the flavours time to blend together.
Remove the soup from heat and let it cool slightly. Blend the soup smooth with either a hand held blender or a stand blender. I prefer to use my stand blender, which yields the creamiest results. Transfer the puréed soup to a serving bowl.
Taste and adjust if necessary – I think the soup is just right as is, but you might want to add more coconut milk for extra creaminess and a milder flavour.
Ladle the soup into individual bowls. Sprinkle the chopped beetroot over the soup and serve!
Let any leftover soup cool completely before transferring it to a proper storage container and refrigerating it for up to 4 days (the leftovers taste even better the next day). Or, freeze this soup for up to 3 months.