Tag Archive | "how to cook pumpkin"

Coconut Curry Pumpkin Soup.

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Coconut Curry Pumpkin Soup.

As we move closer to the holiday season I’ve decided to share some tasty Caribbean inspired appetizer recipes with you all. So for the entire month of November you’ll see your taste buds challenged with some twists on traditional Caribbean dishes. But done in such a way that you can easily serve them during your holiday gatherings. We’ll start off with 3 ingredients I simply adore.. pumpkin, coconut and curry. The end result is a wicked coconut curry pumpkin soup which can be served in small bowls or shooter glasses, so you can pass them around to your guests.


You’ll Need…

2 tablespoon coconut oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 minced garlic clove
3 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground coriander
4 cups diced pumpkin
1 Cup coconut milk
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger

* chives for garnishing

Notes: I used the leafy part of the celery to garnish. The coconut oil was used to maintain that wonderful coconut undertone, but you can certainly use vegetable oil as well. Additionally, to keep this fully vegetarian I used vegetable stock, but you can certainly use chicken stock for an additional level of flavor.

Start  off by prepping all the ingredients. Peel, wash and cube the pumpkin into 3/4 inch pieces. Dice the onion, garlic and celery and chop the scotch bonnet pepper very finely. Remember to wear gloves and wash you hands with soap immediately after handling such hot peppers. Don’t include any of the pepper seeds or white membrane surrounding the seeds as that’s where the true fire is.

Heat the coconut oil in a deep pan on medium heat then add all the fragrance building ingredients (celery, garlic and onion). Allow that to sweat down for 3-4 minutes on low heat. Then add the curry powder and ground coriander. With your heat still on low, stir so the curry gets an opportunity to toast and start coating the bottom of the pot. Grate in the ginger and allow this to cook on low for 4 minutes.

Now that we have a wicked flavor base it’s time to add the diced pumpkin and give it a good stir.

It’s now time to add all the other ingredients (salt, veg broth and coconut milk) and bring to a boil. Then reduce to a gentle simmer and allow to cook until the pumpkin pieces becomes tender and starts to fall apart (about 25 minutes).

The ideal way to serve this pumpkin soup is to have it smooth, so out came my hand blender and with about 1 minutes of working it, I had a silky soup. Try not to overwork it or you’ll end up with a frothy mess. Do remember to taste for salt and adjust accordingly.

As your guests arrive you can pour some of this coconut curry pumpkin soup in little serving bowls or in shooter glasses and serve. This soup is packed with true Caribbean flavor and I assure you that though it’s fully vegetarian, your guests will be craving every drop.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. oh yea! leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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Stewed Pumpkin With Shrimp.

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Stewed Pumpkin With Shrimp.

Like okra, pumpkin is one of those things I’m only just starting to really appreciate. Pumpkin is heavily used throughout the Caribbean to add extra body to stews and soups, in desserts like cassava pone and how could one forget the classic pumpkin rice. However ever since my mom made pumpkin with shrimp a few years back for me, it’s got to be tops on my list. This pumpkin talkari (word for side dish) recipe is a clone of her’s, but like so many things this woman prepares… I could never match her skills.

You’ll Need…

4 cups pumpkin (peeled and cubed – 1 inch pieces)
1 medium onion
1/2 scotch bonnet pepper
3 cloves garlic chopped fine or crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil (extra virgin works best for me as it gives it a nutty flavour)
1/2 teaspoon salt (check at the end of cooking to add more if needed)
3/4 teaspoon golden brown sugar
3/4 cup shrimp
1 teaspoon green seasoning
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Notes: I was able to track down the same type of pumpkin we use in the Caribbean (Common Name: “calabaza”, “Caribbean pumpkin”, Cuban squash, West Indian pumpkin) at a local West Indian grocery, so I was quite happy.  Click Caribbean Green Seasoning if you’d like to see a video showing how to make this versatile green seasoning we use in most of our meat and fish dishes in the Caribbean.

Before we get to the prep work and actual cooking, lets briefly marinate the shrimp for a few minutes. You should have cleaned and deveined shrimp (wash with a little lemon or lime juice and cool water), then add the black pepper and green seasoning paste and give it a good stir. Let that marinate as we get ready to cook (no need to marinate too long or the green seasoning will start cooking the shrimp).

Peel, cube and wash your pumpkin.. the skin may be a bit tough as it’s thick and waxy. Use a sharp pairing knife or potato peeler. Chop the onion and scotch bonnet pepper and do remember to wear gloves when handling such potent peppers and don’t include any of the seeds. The seeds and white membrane surrounding the seeds is where most of the explosive heat will be, so discard. Crush or chop the garlic in thin slices.

It’s now time to start cooking (if you prepped the pumpkin in advanced, be sure to keep it in a bowl with cool water to prevent it going discolored) , heat the olive oil (you can also use veg oil) on a medium heat, then add the seasoned shrimp. Stir quickly as we want to cook the shrimp half the way through and create a flavor base at the same time. After 2 minutes, remove the shrimp and place it back in the same bowl it was marinated in.

Now add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook for 3 minutes on low heat. Again we’re building the layers of flavor, so the finished pumpkin with shrimp is finger licking.

Add the slices of scotch bonnet pepper and give everything a good stir. Now add the cubed pumpkin (be sure to drain first), top with the salt and give it a good stir. Place the lid on the pot and after 2-3 minutes you’ll start to hear a sort of sizzle. That’s the pumpkin starting to boil as it will release it’s own natural juices. Give the pot a stir, turn down the heat to low and let it simmer for about 25 minutes. Be sure to stir every 4-5 minutes.

After 25 minutes the pumpkin should start to melt away and you’ll notice there will be a lot of liquid in the pot. Remove the lid and turn up the heat to start burning off the liquid as an ideal pumpkin with shrimp will have a sort of dry finish. After most of the liquid is gone (about 4-5 minutes), add back the semi cooked shrimp to the pot, as well as the brown sugar. Continue cooking to burn off any remaining liquid. It took about 4 minutes for it to go to the consistency I wanted.

Taste for salt and adjust accordingly. Depending on the texture you like, you can use the back of your cooking spoon to crush any remaining chunks of pumpkin, so you have a relatively smooth finish. But if you like it a bit chunky, do nothing.

Personally I like this pumpkin with shrimp with roti, but I learned that is just as delicious with brown rice since I was too lazy to make roti. You can do this fully vegetarian by following the vegetarian version of cooking pumpkin at pumpkin talkari recipe.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. oh yea! leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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Pumpkin Simmered In Bits Of Salted Cod.

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Pumpkin Simmered In Bits Of Salted Cod.

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I’m not a fan of pumpkin, unless it’s added to callaloo or in those hearty soups we’re so famous for in the Caribbean, but this dish turned out amazing. I recall as a young fella on the islands, our mom would say “eat the pumpkin, it good for you”.. good for me? That expression was enough (even if it tasted good) for me and my siblings to not want to eat it. It was like code for “food to avoid”… little did she know.

On our recent trip to Jamaica I had the opportunity to have pumpkin rice for the first time and though it was at a fast food joint in the mall (Island Grill), it was amazing. I can only imagine how much better it would taste if it was homemade.  So I’m starting to have a little more appreciation for the food that is “good for me”.

Disclaimer. I’ve posted this in the vegetarian section as well, since I do know some people who are vegetarians and eat fish. For those of you who don’t… save the hate mail please.

You’ll Need…

2 lbs pumpkin (cubed)
salt – see note below
1 medium onion sliced
2 cloves garlic sliced
1/4 hot pepper (I used habanero)
1/4 cup shredded dry salted fish (like cod or haddock etc)
1/2 teaspoon golden brown sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil (use vegetable or your fav)
fresh cracked black pepper

Note: Since we’re using salted cod in the recipe, you may not need to add salt. However, this is something you can “taste” for near the end of cooking, as everyone tolerance for salt is different. Additionally, I like using olive oil in this recipe as I find it adds a nice nutty flavor. But you’re free to use vegetable or any sort of oil you like cooking with.

Peel and cube the pumpkin in 1/2 inch pieces (try to be uniform as possible) then rinse under cool water and drain.

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For some reason the salted fish (cod usually) we get in the Caribbean is very salty and require boiling first before using. However the one I get here in Canada, is a bit less salty, not as dry and is boneless. So my prep is a bit different. All I do is take a chunk and place it in a deep bowl, to which I add boiling water and allow to soak for about 30 minutes. I then drain, shred and rinse again under cool water. This not only rehydrate the shredded salted cod, but it removes all the excess salt from it.

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Set your stove on medium heat and heat the oil in a fairly deep saucepan. Then add half of the sliced onion and allow to cook for a couple minutes. Now add the pieces of salted fish and on low heat, allow to cook for about 4-5 minutes.

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Now that the oil is infused with all the wonderful flavor from the shredded fish, it’s time to add the cubed pumpkin. Then top with the slices of garlic, the rest of the sliced onion, habanero pepper, sugar and some fresh black pepper. Give it a good stir, make sure the heat is on low and cover the pot. This will need to cook for about 25-30 minutes. But it’s important that you stir it often.

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After about 25 minutes of cooking you’ll notice that it’s all gone a mushy. That’s what we’re looking for, but it may have a bit of liquid still in the pan. If this is the case turn up the heat and with the lid removed, burn off any liquid you see. Now using the back of your spoon, press down on an chunky pieces of pumpkin that may still be there, to form a sort of smooth and creamy texture. At this point you can also check to see if there’s enough salt to your liking and add accordingly. In my case I didn;t have to add any.

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trini recipe pumpkin

Show me some love and leave me your comments below (always appreciated) and while you’re at it… connect with us on Facebook. Remember you can always use the images on the upper right side of this page to get to the cooking videos as well as join us as we chat about all things Caribbean related when it come to the cuisine of the region (Facebook).

BTW this recipe makes enough for this to be used as a side for about 4 people and it goes well with plain rice or with roti (buss up shut, Sada roti, fry bake).

Happy Cooking


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That Pumpkin Cook Real Nice Boi!

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That Pumpkin Cook Real Nice Boi!

trinidad pmpkin talkariGrowing up I remember hearing my mom saying to my grandmother or aunts in our unique accent “yea, that pumpkin real nice boi” and now that I occasionally cook pumpkin, I know exactly what they mean. No two pumpkins cook the same (end result), the texture, sweetness and overall taste can differ from pumpkin to pumpkin (and I don’t even mean variety… that’s another story altogether). The soil, amount of sun, rain (water) and growing conditions plays a huge part on the quality of pumpkin and the final product you get when it’s cooked.

That said, here’s a very simple recipe for cooking pumpkin which will almost guarantee a great final dish. (don’t forget to also check out the butternut squash recipe I posted many moons ago)

BTW, in Trinidad and Tobago this pumpkin recipe is usually called “Pumpkin Talkari” and it’s a hit at many of the Hindu homes and celebrations since it’s a vegetarian dish that’s full of goodness and simply amazing with roti.

You’ll Need…

3-4 lbs pumpkin (peeled and cubed – 1 inch pieces
1/2 medium onion (divided)
1/2 hot pepper (your choice – I used habanero) (to control heat, don’t use the seeds or inside ribs of the pepper)
3 cloves garlic chopped fine or crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil (extra virgin works best for me as it gives it a nutty flavour)
1 teaspoon salt (check at the end of cooking to add more if needed)
1/2 teaspoon golden brown sugar

Peel, cube and wash the pumpkin and drain off the excess water. Then in a deep pan, heat the oil on medium heat and add 1/4 of the sliced onion. Cook this for a couple minutes (until soft), then start adding the cubed pumpkin. BTW, if you live in North America you must note that this is NOT the pumpkin grown for Halloween. Go to any ethnic grocery store and they’ll surely have cooking pumpkin in stock.

how to cook pumpkin trinidad

trini pumpkin recipe vegetarian

how to cook pumpkin talkari

guyana pumpkin talkari

It will seem like a lot, but it will cook down. The next step is to add the rest of the ingredients, stir / cover and allow to simmer (low heat – covered) for about 30 minutes or until the pieces are tender and start to melt. You will notice that it will spring it’s own natural juices, the key at the end to ensure all of this is burnt off. After the 30 minutes or so you’ll need to use the back of your cooking spoon to gently crush any of the pieces that may still have the cubed shape (cook last few minute with the lid off). The idea is to get a smooth consistency at the end. Don’t forget to check for salt.

caribbean pumpkin recipe

cooking pumpkin

trini pumpkin recipe

vegetarian pumpkin recipe

trinidad pumpkin recipe

Didn’t I say this was a simple recipe? I’d love to hear from you.. maybe you have a unique twist on making this? Leave me your comments in the area provided below and don’t forget to join our group on Face Book! Click on the image below to connect!

caribbean pot on facebook

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