This Pumpkin palm fruit soup is something that I thought of on the spur of the moment. I had extracts of the palm fruit sitting in my pot. I usually use it to make regular soups like Bush mango soup (Ogbono), Okra soup (Ila Alasepo) and as the base for some other soups I make.
The reason I use fresh palm fruit extract to make soups sometimes is because I’m weary of palm oils sold in the market. I have heard all sorts of stories on how colouring is added to make it redder and how it is mixed with other components to increase quantity for the supplier or marketer. I don’t know what people are looking for in Palm oil (it’s already red) but I try to buy those that have both the solid fat and the oil. I know a lot of people who send for palm oil from their native lands to get the unadulterated and better type.
This weekend, I had so many activities lined up and I needed to make some soups for the week so I just improvised with what I had at home in the short time I had allocated to cooking.
I went for Yellow pumpkins. They have been gracing market stalls lately and I didn’t want to be left out of it. I had some pumpkin left after I made a pumpkin stew recently. So, I brought it out from the freezer and blended it to form a thick paste. I also blended an onion bulb with 2 tomatoes, scotch bonnet pepper(Ata rodo), garlic, ginger along with one teaspoon of locust beans (Iru) and some shredded dry fish (I blended the iru and dry fish because of my toddlers).
To my pot of palm fruit extract, I added the blended tomatoes mix and allowed to cook for a few minutes before adding the blended pumpkin. I tossed in my already cooked Periwinkles(small quantity) , some more dried fish, some little iru (since I blended some already), a little crayfish (to avoid protein overload) as well as my grilled Atlantic Mackerel (Titus). The spices I used include thyme, curry, rosemary, pepper soup spice, and black pepper. Just a little of all of this with some salt and half of a bouillon cube and it was tasty. My last task was to put two handfuls of waterleaf vegetable (Gbure) and I had created something new for myself.
It looked like the Banga soup or something close and it was quite tasty though not an out of this world experience but hey, I’ve added another meal to what I feed my family.
The pumpkin, vegetable, tomatoes, onions, garlic and ginger greatly contribute to the mineral and vitamin content of the soup. The palm fruit extract comes with its own beta –carotene (Vitamin A), both saturated and unsaturated fats; the fish, crayfish, periwinkle, iru all add to the protein, iron contents as well as omega 3 fatty acid (Titus fish). It went down with Amala. I have frozen the rest of the soup.
Since I talk diversity in meals, I practice it also using what I had access to and this is something you can do also; just try.