A Bowl of Sunshine

Ohisama no Wan

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    4

Appears in

An American Taste of Japan

An American Taste of Japan

By Elizabeth Andoh

Published 1985

  • About

This smooth, creamy pumpkin-and-yam soup laced with fresh ginger is named for its bright color and the body-warming glow it produces when consumed. The first time I tasted something similar to this was at the Andoh home in Shikoku, the smallest of Japan” four main islands, before I became an Andoh. My mother-in-law was anxious to make a soup to my western tastes and served a delicious cream-of-yam soup one morning for breakfast! She made it again many years later when Rena (my daughter and one of her favorite grandchildren) and I were visiting her. Rena said the soup reminded her of sunshine, and so it received its “official” name. Since returning to America I’ve experimented with several variations on the theme and found that native American pumpkins and squashes are wonderful in this sunny soup.

Ingredients

  • ½ tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • scant ¼ teaspoon salt
  • pinch white pepper
  • 3 cups tori-gara dashi (basic chicken stock)
  • 3 slices fresh ginger, peeled, each the size of a quarter
  • ¼ small pumpkin OR 1 small butternut squash, 8–9 ounces peeled and seeded
  • 1 sweet potato or yam, 6–7 ounces peeled
  • 3–4 tablespoons fresh heavy cream (optional)

Method

In a saucepan, sauté the shallots in the butter over low heat until wilted (about 4 minutes). Sprinkle the flour over them and, stirring all the while with a whisk or wooden spoon, cook the dry roux for 2 minutes (it may color slightly). Season with salt and pepper, then add ½ cup of the chicken stock, whisking it until smooth. Continue to cook, stirring with the whisk, until the mixture thickens considerably. Whisk in cups more stock and add the ginger. Let the soup simmer while preparing the vegetable puree. The soup should simmer for at least 10 minutes and up to 15; the longer time is for those who adore the gentle fire of fresh ginger. Remove and discard the ginger.

Cut the pumpkin and yam into 1- to 2-inch cubes. Bring several cups of salted water to a boil and cook the pumpkin and yam in it for 5–6 minutes or until just tender (a fork inserted in the vegetables should meet with no resistance). Drain the vegetables and puree until smooth in a blender with the remaining cup of chicken stock.

Add this puree to the simmering gingery broth and stir well to combine. Heat the soup thoroughly over medium heat.

Beat the heavy cream until it holds soft peaks and serve the soup hot with a dollop of whipped cream on top, if you like.