Malón* is a regional Pumpkin Soup from the leafy region of Kurpie, in the northern part of Mazovia.
Like many regional Polish dishes, this soup originates from peasants and farmers who simply used the ingredients they had available – in this case, pumpkins, fresh cream and potatoes.
These veggies would be turned into a rich, comforting, and super-flavourful pumpkin cream; served with small Rejbaki potato dumplings.
If you’re looking for a real taste of Polish autumn, it’s a recipe for you.
*Malón is also a local term for ‘pumpkin’.
For the full list of ingredients & detailed instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post. But before you scroll, there’s important stuff to know below.
In “Food of Kurpies people. Food and drink: everyday, ceremonial and in time of fast”(1) Adam Chętnik writes:
“For breakfast, Kurpie dwellers make a sweet soup out of it [the pumpkin, addition mine]. They peel the pumpkin, cut it into pieces, then cook in water until it softens into the pulp. Then they cover it with millet or wheat dumplings. They also add milk; for kids, they add sugar.”
Rejbaki are small potato dumplings – not to be confused with Rejbak, a Kurpian version of a Potato Babka. Both terms originate from the same verb “rejbować”, which means: grating potatoes. The term probably stemmed from the German “reiben”, meaning “grate”.
💡 Interesting fact: In 2017, this comforting soup was listed on the “Traditional Products” list of the Ministry of Agriculture under the name of “Jednorojski malón – zupa z dyni z Jednorożca”.
Do you need any special ingredients or equipment to make this Pumpkin soup?
Luckily – no, everything should be easily available in any major supermarket.
Pumpkin: Avoid the ginormous jack-o-lantern ones. While they look cool, often are quite stringy and watery inside. Get a smaller pie pumpkin instead (also known as ‘sugar pumpkin’)
Potatoes for dumplings: It’s best to use the starchy kind. When I’ve made an attempt with waxy potatoes, the dumplings simply fell apart.
In the US, aim for Russet, Idaho and Yukon; while in Poland, any “C”-type potato works well. If your potatoes aren’t naturally starchy, you won’t be able to retrieve enough starch from them. If that’s the case, just add 2 tablespoons of potato starch (powder), potato flour or cornmeal.
In terms of the tools, you’ll need:
- Box grater or food processor (with a shredding disc); for grating potatoes
- Immersion (stick) blender or food processor; for puréeing
- Thin, clean kitchen cloth, cheesecloth or muslin square, for draining the potatoes
Plus all the usual kitchen gear, such as pots, bowls etc.
What should you serve with this pumpkin soup?
Thanks to its thick consistency (and the potato dumplings), this soup is already quite filling on its own merit. But if you’re hosting a hungry crowd, it pairs wonderfully with fresh bread or baguette for dunking.
Fell free to swap the potato dumplings to another topping of your choice: croutons, potatoes, kluski noodles…
Can you make this pumpkin soup another way?
Yes, you can:
Change the cooking method:
I find that roasting in the oven improves the pumpkin flavour quite a bit – that’s why I suggest this method in the instructions below. But in the original recipe, the pumpkin is cooked on the stove with half a cup of water, for half an hour (until soft). Feel free to use any of these methods.
Spice it up:
In this recipe, I’m showing you a very traditional version of this soup. If you would like to change things up, try one of the following suggestions:
- Add ginger: Peel a small piece of ginger root, and finely chop enough to fill one tablespoons-worth. Saute it gently with half a tablespoon of butter and add it to the soup right before pureeing.
- Add more spices: 1.5 teaspoons of ground cumin or smoked paprika really lifts the flavour up. For some extra kick, stir in half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
What diets is this pumpkin soup suitable for?
This recipe is gluten-free. If you decide to use vegetable stock, it will be suitable for vegetarians as well.
How long can you keep this pumpkin soup in the fridge?
Malón tastes best when enjoyed hot. Once served, don’t keep it out for more than 3-4 hours.
Refrigerate any leftovers in a container (with a lid) for up to 3 days.
Can I freeze this soup?
Yes, you can, but I recommend freezing the soup separately from the dumplings.
To freeze the soup, let it cool completely. Once the leftovers are at room temperature, pour them into a freezer-friendly container. It is worth using smaller containers and freezing each portion separately. Label with a description and a date. Consume within 3 months.
To freeze the dumplings, arrange them in a single layer on a tray and place the tray in the freezer. Freeze for 3 hours, until solid. After that time it’s safe to move the frozen dumplings into a freezer-friendly bag.
How do I reheat this soup?
From chilled: Pour the soup into a microwave-friendly container. Cover it loosely with a lid. Heat for 4 to 7 minutes until hot throughout. Stir before serving.
From frozen: Thaw the soup overnight. Pour it into a microwave-friendly container, cover with a lid and reheat for 3 to 5 minutes. Carefully remove the soup from the microwave and stir. Continue cooking for another 3 to 5 minutes, until hot throughout. These times could be reduced if you’re reheating a smaller portion of course. Stir well before you serve.
Alternatively, you could reheat this soup on the stove. Bring it to a near boil, then reduce the heat to a medium-low and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes.
- Pożywienie Kurpiów : jadło i napoje zwykłe, obrzędowe i głodowe” (“Food of Kurpies people. Food and drink: everyday, ceremonial and in time of fast”) by Adam Chętnik. Full book available to view here. (Kraków 1936, p. 79-80)