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Pumpkin Soup – Balgabag shorbasi

Balgabag shorbasi - Pumpkin Soup
Pumpkins are plentiful in Azerbaijan from late summer to early winter and are popular in soups, pilafs and kutabi.

Pumpkin soup (balqabaq şorbası) is a tasty, warming dish that can be made thicker by increasing the quantity of rice.

Preparation time: 30 min
Cooking time: 30 min
Serves: 4-5


  • 1 kg/2.2 lbs pumpkin
  • 100 g/4 oz short-grained rice
  • 75 g/3 oz butter
  • 150 g/6 oz onion
  • 1 pomegranate
  • sugar
  • salt


  • Peel the pumpkin (the Swiss-style “Y” peelers are ideal for this) and cut into cubes.
  • Just cover the cubes with water or stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for around 15 minutes or until soft.
  • When the pumpkin is cooked, remove the pieces from the pan and mash.
  • Return the mashed pumpkin to the pan of water and add the rice and salt.
  • Bring back to the boil and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the rice is cooked.
  • While the pumpkin and rice are cooking, fry the onions in butter and add a pinch of salt.
  • Once the rice is cooked, add the onion to the soup and stir well.
  • Pour the soup into bowls and garnish with pomegranate seeds (optional) and chopped coriander or parsley.
  • Have granulated sugar as a condiment on the table as well as salt. If the pumpkin is not very sweet, adding a sprinkle of sugar to the soup will help bring out the flavour.

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