While I don’t typically dive into steaming hot bowls of sweet pumpkin soup, I just might make an exception today. And, if I did, I just might use one of those rice balls as a floaty. No judgments, please. I just like pumpkin a whole lot.
The unusual thing about this soup is not how sweet it is, or even the fact that there’s rice balls in it (that’s not much different than a dumpling) – it’s that there’s a scoop of sweet red beans lurking at the bottom of the bowl, waiting for the unsuspecting diner to slurp and nibble and glump.
Glump? Sure. That’s exactly what sweet red beans are like. In the best possible way, of course.
So, let’s take ourselves deep into the heart of Korea. Perhaps on the first snowfall, when freezing freckles of snow just barely stick to the ground. It’s the best time to saddle up to a bowl of sweet pumpkin soup.
Recipe inspired by Aeri’s Kitchen.
5 cups of steamed pumpkin (from a 3-5 lb pumpkin)
5 cups water, or as needed
1/8 cup Sweet Rice Flour (available at Korean and Asian markets)
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
Sweet Rice balls:
1 cup sweet rice flour
water, as needed (about 1/3 cup)
Black sesame seeds, as desired
Have you ever actually used an ordinary pumpkin for anything besides carving? Perhaps for pie? It’s time to get brave. Now is the season. You can thank North Korea later.
Cut the pumpkin into strips, remove seeds, and steam until tender, about 30 minutes. I used my giant pasta pot with insert to fit all the pieces. When the pumpkin is soft and slightly cooled, scoop the flesh into a blender until you get about five cups.
Blend pumpkin with water, 1/8 cup of sweet rice flour, sugar, and a pinch of salt.
Pour the smooth mixture into a pot, bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally so lumps do not form.
Meanwhile, make the rice balls by mixing the flour with water until you can shape into dumplings. I made them the size of a tablespoon, but that was way too big (unless you like chasing slippery rice balls around soup bowls in an effort to cut them up). Next time I’ll go for teaspoon sized dumplings.
Simmer them in the soup until floating and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Be sure to stir them as soon as you put them in to prevent sticking to the bottom.
Down the last drop. Especially if you enjoy it under the shadow of a great mountain.
Have a sweet, pumpkiny day!