Mosh Kovok (Bukharan Pumpkin & Mung Bean Soup)

I’ve been meaning to make this for awhile. Partly I’ve been scared to cut open the pumpkin. Mainly. That and I am generally a self-proclaimed soup hater, so I wanted to make it for someone other than myself. Also, I approach these things with little steps, and only sometimes with little hops, tiny leaps. I spent two weeks just deciding that this was what I wanted to make. I gather ingredients. I incrementally prepare.

It’s been a remarkably long few months. With a lot of changes I should probably write about, but for now, I made this soup. I made it for someone new. Packing it in mason jars, still hot, packing my suitcase, getting out of the city for a little bit, starting a mini-journey, and at once, as I so often do, saying goodbye and hello at the very same time. Shabbat Shalom.

Anyway, no adaptations with this one, just rewrote the recipe with the Bukharan variations worked in and with a few prep tips — otherwise it’s straight from Gil Marks’ “Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World” – a book I highly recommend. A little excited, as you can see:


Then I got this wonderful present – Uzbek Cuisine. I got lost in this book tonight for an hour. For the third time.

I even bought this handy, somewhat frightening looking knife for the occasion. $12.99 for a knife that seemed to be promising me that there would be no slicing open my fingers again trying to get into another pumpkin. And this season has been filled to the brim already with pumpkin goodness (much of it vegetarian, so it hasn’t made the blog, unfortunately). And now, happily, the season continues without the wounds.

For further information, check out this little tutorial on how to cut open a small pie pumpkin.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 leeks (white and light green parts only), washed and chopped, or 2 onions, chopped
  • 8 cups vegetable stock, or water
  • 2 to 3 pounds pumpkin, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes (5 – 6 cups) (can substitute squash)
  • 2 carrots, cut into chunks (optional)
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups cooked white beans
  • 6 ounces raw mung beans
  • 1 to 4 tablespoons packed brown or granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric or saffron thread
  • About 1 1/2teaspoons table salt or 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro, 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds, or pine nuts, or 1 cup sauteed mushrooms for garnish

Method:

1. Pre-cut all your vegetables — leeks (or onions), pumpkin (or squash), carrot, potatoes

2. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, pumpkin, white beans, raw mung beans, potatoes, carrots, sugar, spices, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the pumpkin is very soft, about 50 minutes. If you used cinnamon sticks, discard them.

3. To serve, garnish with whatever you have chosen. I chose pine nuts.

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