Spicy Pumpkin Miso Soup with Udon

It was after midnight, and I should have been sleeping. Instead, I was staring at a photo of a bowl of broth with some noodles, and the words “udon with pumpkin miso broth and veggies.” It was posted on Amy’s website, and it was one of her favorite meals during her family’s trip to Japan last spring. It sounded delicious! Several days passed, and I just couldn’t get it out of my head. So yesterday, my mission became this: create a soup with some flavors from the Far East, featuring the fresh little pumpkin I bought last week, because this is pumpkin season, after all. Time to start cooking with the famous squash.

I had no recipe to go on, and no time to peruse cookbooks and websites for inspiration. So, the recipe came together using ingredients that I like best.

 The result was just what I had hoped for — something like Asian-style comfort food. This time of year, the air is cool, but not cold, so I wanted a hot bowl of soup but with plenty of fresh flavors to keep it light and bright. If you try this recipe, enjoy the silken texture of the broth… it seems pumpkin and miso were made for each other.

Spicy Pumpkin Miso Soup with Udon

by Stephanie Kunstle



  • 2 lb. / 914 g. whole pumpkin
  • 2 large shallots (3.5 oz. / 97 g) … where “Asian” meets “fusion”
  • 4 oz. / 115 g. sweet white miso
  • 4 large carrots, diced
  • 4 scallions, sliced thin
  • 1-2 red hot chiles (I used Fresno chiles), sliced lengthwise and then into thirds
  • 12 oz. / 375 g. udon noodles
  • 2 heads of baby bok choy, stalk / leaves sliced lengthwise
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil, and butter
  • approximately 12 c water
  • cilantro leaves


  1. Slice the pumpkin in half, and scrape out seeds (you can rinse these, let them dry, and roast them with some olive oil and salt for a snack later!). Rub the insides of the pumpkin with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place, cut side down, onto a well oiled baking sheet (I use regular olive oil for this too). Break apart the shallots into their individual cloves, leaving skins on, scatter around the pumpkins, and drizzle with a bit of olive oil.
  2. Roast pumpkin and shallots at 400 F for about 40 minutes, until a fork slides easily into the pumpkin flesh. After roasting, turn pumpkins over to allow to cool. Scrape out pumpkin from shell, and slide roasted shallots out of skins.
  3. In a food processor (or a food mill), blend the pumpkin, shallots and miso with 4 cups of water until very smooth.
  4. In a large stock pot, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter. Add diced carrots, and sauteé over medium heat until they start to become soft, but still keep their bright orange color. Add the sliced scallions, and cook until they wilt.
  5. Add the pumpkin miso pureé, and add about 8 cups of water. Raise heat to medium high to bring to a boil.
  6. Add the sliced Fresno chiles, 1 to 2 depending on tolerance for heat! Once the broth has come to a boil, add the udon and baby bok choy. Cook about 8 minutes, until the udon is just done. Salt to taste.
  7. Serve hot with a generous sprinkling of fresh cilantro leaves, and a favorite pair of chopsticks!
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8 Responses to Spicy Pumpkin Miso Soup with Udon

  1. Rita says:

    Your photographs enhance your story and recipe beautifully! A great reminder of what can happen with a little inspiration. Thank you for putting me in the mood for a warm bowl of soup. I must try this soon!

  2. Amy Kunstle says:

    I can’t wait to try this Stephanie! I loved this combination and I think you very well may have gotten it! Beautiful pictures and great recipe! Thanks!!!!

  3. Tío says:

    Order up!

  4. Em says:

    You have quite the wild side!!!! How brave and amazing that you just winged it and made something with ingredients that I would never be brave enough to just “throw in”–bok choy and miso??? I’ll definitely have to try this….

  5. Megan Sabrina Cumby says:

    Hello again Stephanie. This dish sounds perfectly wonderful and just in time for the fall season! Since the pregnancy I have found myself becoming more active in the kitchen, trying new strange concoctions based on sporadic cravings I had. I have never really been the best cook. I would have to say about 2 out of 4 meals I cook come out tasty but I figured practice and fresh ingredients can help pave the way. Thank you for your little food bit with this website. I feel a spark of creativity and inspiration coming back just from reading some recipe titles!
    It seems that summer squash has been one of the favorite cravings, especially zuchinni and eggplant (and spinach,) which isn’t too bad of a thing to crave when carrying a child. Unfortunately I have felt limited by my knowledge in creative recipes to come up with some real different uses for these 2 squashes. Of course I’ve tried the basic fried and breaded zuchinni and eggplant marinara, but I was wondering if you knew any other recipes that involve these wonderful veggies as a main ingredient?
    Oh, I did come up with a really tasty sandwich involving eggplant perhaps you might like to try. You just fry up a slice, and before applying to the sandwich, melt some Italian Colby Cheese over it. (This cheese really makes the flavor-I can’t remember what farm makes it but I usually find it at the local whole foods store.)
    Add slices of apple, bacon (optional,) spinach, onion and mayonaisse on top of some really yummy whole grain bread. Throw in a cup of organic butternut squash soup (they carry this at Safeway…ooh it’s the best!) with some chopped green onions in it, a handful of carrots and maybe some Constant Comment iced tea and you got lunch!

  6. Stephanie Kunstle says:

    Megan- glad this is providing some inspiration for you! I really enjoy Ina Garten’s Zucchini Vichyssoise recipe. Both zucchini and eggplant are great chopped, then roasted with some olive oil and a little fresh thyme, and then tossed with pasta too.

  7. Amy Kunstle says:

    Hey Steph,
    Hotu-udon is the name of this dish in Japan. I bought a Japanese steam boat with central barbeque grill this weekend and started surfing around for recipes to start trying with it and this came up http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H%C5%8Dt%C5%8D. I laid in a stock of miso, udon etc and am going to enjoy both your recipe and another couple of recipes that I found! Thought you might enjoy this!

  8. Stephanie Kunstle says:

    Amy- thank you!!!

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