Growing 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.
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.
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.
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!