There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate. ― Linda Grayson
Except that there is something else even better than chocolate, this peanut pumpkin soup.
A few years back in university, I was living together with two other friends (let’s call them L and P) from high school. We didn’t talk much before coming to Singapore but somehow ended up studying in the same university and taking the same courses. Inevitably, we grew closer and became a gang.
Our gang would wait for each other after dinner and then take the very long commute back home.
Our gang would talk about all things under the sun (a more precise description would be gossip) and laugh until our stomachs hurt.
Our gang would invade the shop where one of us was working and help ourselves to the “complementary staff meals”.
Our gang would study together in the library when exams were looming, promising ourselves that we would pull an all-nighter but ended up sleeping on the cold table scattered with snacks.
And our gang had a ritual, drinking coconut late at night (thanks to the 24-hour groceries store downstairs) and eating this peanut pumpkin soup if we felt like having a home-cooked meal.
It was P who introduced this recipe into the group. At first I was not convinced as at the time peanut was more of a dessert ingredient to me, not knowing that it is also used in braised savory dishes. However, after one try I was converted. The peanut adds more texture to this soup which is otherwise bland and monotonous.
L was always the one prepping the pumpkin as P and I watched in admiration (partly because we both hated doing that). He neatly removed the skin and cut the stubbornly hard pumpkin into even pieces. No green bits, no seeds. Sometimes we added in shrimps or minced meat for a change, but plain peanut and pumpkin worked just fine. Pair this with another dish such as caramelized pork or prawns and we had ourselves a wholesome meal.
Our gang –three twenty-year-olds whose conversations were sometimes (most of the time) going nowhere, discussing questions such as why cats are so cute or why our Physics sucks. It is hard to believe that we have known each other for ten years. Now we don’t talk as much as we did before. Our ten-year-anniversary trip did not happen, but deep down inside we know that despite how adulthood has trained us to be or at least pretend to be mature, there will always be room for nonsensical chit-chatting, for that urge to drink coconut in the middle of the night together and for that warm peanut pumpkin soup that stimulates our silly-but-oh-so-entertaining conversations.
- Soaking the peanuts in water for about 15-20 minutes before cooking reduces the cooking time.
- The peanuts take much longer to soften than the pumpkin. I was caught in a Big Bang Theory episode and let the pot simmer for 5 minutes too long. The result was an unevenly mushy soup.
- 400 gr pumpkin, prepped and cut into bite-size chunks
- ½ cup of raw peanut, soaked in water for 15 minutes and drained
- Salt, pepper, sugar
- Spring onion to garnish
- 3 cups of water
- Fill the pot with the water and peanut on low heat. Let simmer for about 30 minutes with the lid on.
- Add in the pumpkin and cook for 5-7 minutes. Season to taste near the end.
- Garnish with pepper and spring onion. Serve hot.
Isn’t it the easiest soup to make or what? 🙂