Pumpkin Soup

Balkabağı çorbası


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Classic Turkish Cooking

By Ghillie Basan

Published 1995

  • About

Generally, pumpkins are turned into a nourishing, cinnamon-flavoured winter soup or poached into a popular dessert, balkabaği tatlısı. This recipe is from the villages around Bursa that hug the lower slopes of Uludag, the ancient Mount Olympus, which is covered in snow in the winter. The soup can he topped with melted butter and kırmızı biber, or with yogurt and fried leeks.


  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 large leek, sliced (reserve a little of it for the garnish)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons clarified or ordinary butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or honey
  • 2 lb/900 g pumpkin flesh, cut into small pieces
  • 2 pints/1.2 litres chicken stock
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons thick creamy yogurt
  • a little extra butter


  • In a deep pan, soften the onions, garlic and most of the leek in the butter. Stir in the spices, sugar and pumpkin, and pour in the stock. Bring the liquid to the boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 30-40 minutes until the pumpkin is soft.
  • Push the mixture through a sieve (or liquidize in an electric blender), and return to the pan. Heat it through, and season. In a small pan, melt a little butter and soften the remaining leek. Swirl the yogurt into the soup and spoon the leek over the top.