Kumara soup with a twist a true comfort

17:00, Aug 22 2014
Ruth Pretty's kumara soup
A twist on classic - kumara soup with peanut butter.

Recently in our catering kitchen for a staff lunch, chef Ronnie whipped up a pumpkin soup enriched with peanut butter. The idea was somehow familiar to me and I reached for my well-thumbed, quite ancient Moosewood Restaurant cookbooks.

Sure enough, the original version, made with sweet potato and called "West African Peanut Soup" was in Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant published in 1990 by Simon and Schuster/Fireside.

If you are interested in vegetarian cooking, simply love interesting vegetable and grain dishes, or are desperate to release the hippy within, seek out cook books from the Moosewood collection.


Serves 6-8

This is my version of the Moosewood classic. 15ml (1 Tbsp) vegetable oil


220g (1 large) onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 red chilli (or to suit your taste), seeds removed and chopped

1 litre (4 cups) vegetable stock or water

140g (1 large) carrot, peeled and chopped

1.3kg-1.5kg (4) kumara, peeled and chopped

500ml (2 cups) tomato juice

270g (1 cup) smooth peanut butter

10g (1 Tbsp) brown sugar

1/2 tsp flaky sea salt

1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

190ml (3/4 cup) coconut cream

1/2 cup chopped spring onions

Place oil in a saucepan set over a medium heat. When oil is hot add onion. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until soft and translucent but not brown. Add garlic, ginger and chilli. Cook for a minute or until slightly soft.

Add stock or water with carrot and kumara. Increase heat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until vegetables are tender. In a blender, or food processor fitted with a metal blade add vegetables in batches along with the cooking liquid and tomato juice. Blend and return to pot set over a medium heat.

Add peanut butter, sugar, salt and pepper and stir until smooth. Increase heat and bring back to the boil. Proceed to serve, or cool then refrigerate to reheat later.

Pour soup into preheated soup bowls. Drizzle each serve with coconut cream and scatter with chopped spring onions.


Makes 9-10 individual loaves

For this recipe we use Bakels Gluten-Free Health Flour.

350g (2 cups + 5 Tbsp) gluten-free flour

14g (1 Tbsp + 1/2 tsp) instant dried yeast

95g (2/3cup) LSA (linseed, sunflower seeds, almonds - see recipe following)

1 tbsp flaky sea salt

1 tsp xanthum gum, available at healthfood stores

450ml (1 3/4 cups + 1 Tbsp) warm water

30 ml (2 Tbsp) olive oil

15g (1 Tbsp) apple syrup, or honey

30g pumpkin, sesame or sunflower seeds

Preheat oven to 240 degrees Celsius.

Lightly spray 10 individual loaf moulds (or 15 regular size muffin forms) with baking spray.

Into a bowl place flour, yeast, LSA and salt and toss to combine.

In a second bowl place xanthum gum, water, olive oil and apple syrup and stir to combine.

Pour liquids into dry ingredients and mix to combine. Cover bowl with a tea towel and leave to rest in a warm place for 15-20 minutes or until it has risen very slightly.

Spoon dough evenly into the prepared individual moulds or forms. Using a knife dipped in cold water, smooth tops. Sprinkle generously with seeds.

Place loaves into preheated oven and immediately decrease temperature to 210C.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when tapped. Turn onto a cooling rack. Cool and serve. Alternatively store in airtight container for up to one week, or freeze for up to three months.


Makes 200g LSA can be stored in an airtight container in pantry for 2-3 weeks.

110g ( cup) almonds, with skin on

45g ( cup + 1 tsp) linseeds

50g ( cup) sunflower seeds

Preheat oven to 190C.

Place almonds on a low-sided baking tray and lightly roast for about 10 minutes or until just starting to colour. Cool.

Place of the linseeds in a food processor bowl fitted with a metal blade and grind until roughly chopped (this takes quite a while and only works using a small amount of seeds at a time). Repeat process until all linseeds are ground. Place in a bowl.

Add sunflower seeds to the food processor bowl and process until they are coarsely ground. Place in the bowl with linseeds.

Into the food processor bowl fitted with a metal blade, place almonds and grind until they are fine but still rough in texture. Place in the bowl with linseeds and sunflower seeds and shake the three ingredients together.


1. Add additional water or stock if you would like a thinner soup but always re-taste for seasoning. 2. Reheat slowly over a gentle heat – preferably with pot set over a simmer mat – as the soup will catch easily. 

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