This is one of my favourite soups. Warming and nutritious – it is just the thing to warm the cockles of the heart on a chilly day. The addition of mushroom, capsicum and eggplant add a wonderful texture and heartiness to the soup.
In Somali, we use a generic term – bocor – for gourds and squashes such as pumpkin. My aunt who was born and grew up in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, told me that they call pumpkin bocor hindi (literally Indian bocor) possibly because it was introduced in Somalia by Indian traders.
Another popular dish from the pumpkin family made in southern Somalia is bocor katiitow, which uses the flesh of the green gourd plant. It is a particular favourite during the month of Ramadan when Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset.
Maraq Bocor (Pumpkin Soup)
250g diced pumpkin, cut into small cubes
1 small capsicum , chopped
2 small eggplant, cut into small cubes
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 small tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons olive oil
A handful of coriander leaves (keep some aside for garnish)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 diced green chilli (add more if you like it spicy)
1 cup water (you can add a bit more if you like your soup thinner)
Salt to taste
1. Heat oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onions until brown.
2. Add all the other ingredients and cook for a few minutes until well mixed.
3. Add the water and salt to taste.
4. Cook with the lid on until vegetables are tender.
5. Puree the soup in a blender to your desired consistency.
6. Garnish with the herbs for a memorable lunch or dinner!