Pumpkin with Chickpeas - Serves 4
This dish originates from Bangladesh and uses the spice mix panch phoran to temper the sweetness of the pumpkin. I’m using a 400g can of chickpeas for speed but if you prefer to get them from a wholefood shop just soak them in water over night before boiling for 10 minutes and simmering for a further 60 – 90 minutes, or until cooked. Use when indicated.
70g dried chickpeas or 400g can, drained & rinsed
3 tablespoons veg oil
1 bay leaf
2 dried red chillies
1 teaspoon Panch Phoran
A pinch of asafoetida
300g pumpkin flesh, diced
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 green chilli, chopped
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 tbsp ghee
2 tbsps sugar
1 tsp garam masala
Heat the oil in a wok and stir fry the bay leaf, red chillies, panch phoran and a pinch of asafoetida until the crackling stops. Add the potatoes and pumpkin and sauté for a further 5 minutes.
Add the ground spices and the green chilli and the ginger mixed with 100ml water. Stir well. Add the chickpeas and simmer gently for 8 - 10 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked and the excess liquid has boiled off.
Mix in the ghee, sugar and salt to taste. Sprinkle the garam masala over, stir and serve immediately with rice or breads.
Pumpkin Pickle - Serves 4
This pickle makes an excellent accompaniment to game dishes such as grouse or venison, it's also fantastic with parathas or used as a spread on sandwiches or wraps.
4 tbsps vegetable oil
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
4 dried red chillies, broken into 2-3 pieces each
700g pumpkin flesh, peeled and diced into 1cm cubes
2 tsps salt
1 tablespoon Kashmiri chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric
5 tbsps sugar
2 tsps Amchoor powder (dried mango)
Heat the oil in a pan, add the fenugreek seeds and dried chillies, wait for then to begin popping. Add the pumpkin and stir over a high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the salt, chilli powder and turmeric, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the pumpkin is soft and begins to break down. Stir in the sugar - the sweetness helps balance the heat and spice and makes the pickle glossy. Finish with the dried mango powder.
Spiced Pumpkin Brûlée - Serves 6
If you want to try something a little unusual for dessert these spiced pumpkin brulees are incredibly tasty and a little bit different.
150g peeled and diced pumpkin flesh
75g granulated sugar
350ml double cream
75g caster sugar
3 egg yolks
2 tsps of ground cinnamon, green cardamom seeds and black pepper - equal quantities of each
50g Demerara sugar
Put the diced pumpkin in a pan with the granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons of water and cook gently until soft. Leave to cool then blend to a puree in a food processor.
Put the cream and caster sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil, then add the pumpkin puree and whisk in. Only add the puree when the cream comes to the boil, otherwise the cream may separate. Leave until luke warm and then gradually whisk in the eggs, egg yolks and ground spices. Pour the mixture into 6 ramekins and place in a roasting tin half full of hot water. Bake in an oven preheated to 120c for 30 minutes or unti just set. Remove from the roasting tin, allow to cool and then chill in the fridge.
Sprinkle the Demerara sugar on top and caramelise with a blow torch or under a very hot grill. Leave until the top has become crisp and then serve.