In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

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.Ā  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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  1. Lystra
    April 6, 2022 / 6:04 pm

    Have to give this a try Iā€™m a pumpkin lover

  2. Lorna Marchan
    March 9, 2022 / 4:26 pm

    It’s the first time I’m hearing of this recipe. I’m definitely going to try it.

  3. Carol Prescott
    April 18, 2021 / 1:15 pm

    Chris I think you riled up Mr. Desmond and Mr.Phillips this morning on Wack Radio. All dem talk bout is saltfish.

  4. Roma
    October 6, 2014 / 10:17 am

    Cris this is so good, I normally have it with Roti or Fried Bakes

  5. June 5, 2014 / 4:46 pm

    I LOOOOVE pumpkin, especially what we grow here in the USVI. So this recipe resonated with me. Nice and easy too. I add young okra sliced in rounds. Pumpkin, okra with butter and seasoning used to be prepared for the babies in our family, and I would hang around hoping that the babies would leave some. Crushed white potatoes would also be added, without the salt fish, of course. YUMMMMM!

  6. Carol
    February 15, 2013 / 10:05 am

    Hi Chris I forgot how good this recipe taste : Pumpkin in salted cod. I will surely try it soon. Thanks

  7. Andy
    November 28, 2012 / 3:15 pm

    wow love this site thanks for this site,atleast i can try some of my husband favorites,….he's guyanes…at im asian…so hard for me to learn what food he love to eat,but because of this site i learn…thnxxxxxx a lot….more power…have a good day…

  8. Alf G
    October 12, 2012 / 4:16 am

    It makes me feel very craving every time you send a recipe with salt fish as it is not available in this part of the South Pacific. I tried and tried, but;; none is available. Thanks just the same. I can just remember the taste. Thanks for your recipies.

  9. Mama and more
    May 21, 2012 / 5:10 am

    Hi there, my friend made this for a lunch party this Saturday and has introduced me to your site – this mixture is new to me and was absolutely delicious! Look forward to more. My friend used butternut squash in hers btw, which has a similar taste to pumpkin, yum.

  10. Erkya
    March 19, 2012 / 12:34 pm

    great recipes that I am certainly going to try

  11. sandra cleghorn
    February 21, 2012 / 8:32 pm

    Hi Chris,

    Am vegan, could you provide me with an eggless cake recipe black forest preference. thanx

  12. Pamela
    September 12, 2011 / 6:51 am

    Greetings Chris,
    I never had pumpkin and salt fish, but I am definitely going to try this…Will let you know the turnout..
    Thanks again for all of your wonderful recipes.

    • Pasty
      March 2, 2019 / 2:45 pm

      It’s a very delicious dish. You can also use shrimp instead if you like shrimp.

  13. Krys
    August 17, 2011 / 12:43 pm

    Yummy, made this yesterday!

  14. elaine
    July 30, 2011 / 1:22 am

    this is a new teist to steamed I am going to try this today

  15. Remador
    April 5, 2011 / 9:11 pm

    I had never made pumpkin before, but I've made this twice now, both times it was great. Thanks for the recipes.

  16. UmmuYahya
    March 29, 2011 / 2:16 pm

    @sharm, he did mash it my friend, it's there in the last step šŸ˜€

  17. sharm
    March 28, 2011 / 11:20 am

    hey insteat of leaving it chunky you can mash it up a bit with the back of your soon and this gives it a nice texture. Also try adding a little ground geera to it (if cooking wothout the salt fish) it gives it a really nice flavor.

  18. UmmuYahya
    March 26, 2011 / 12:26 pm

    Hi chris, I love ur fb pg(didn’t know u had a website) anyhow, wanted to share somerthing with u. I always hated pumpkin and so did my husband who isn’t trini- in fact he’s Arab/Tanzanian/baluchi…so how I started eating pumpkin and got him to actually like it is that when the pumpkin is done cooking and u turn the heat off, add chopped shadon benne to it!!! The flavour is different and enhanced esp when u feel to impress some ppl or for a diff taste. Hope u and others try it šŸ™‚

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