Because pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween!
So long summer. The seasons may change a bit more slowly here in Hong Kong, but keep an eye on the wet market and you’ll see some differing fresh produce as autumn approaches. Pumpkin is definitely one of our favourite seasonal ingredients and is so versatile to cook with.
That’s why I have collated three perfect pumpkin recipes for you to try at home. They include a bit of sweet and savoury, so I’m sure you are going to love them!
The inspiration for this soup comes from the regular pumpkin stir fry we make which is heavily tempered with curry leaves. The latter adds a beautiful flavour and dimension to this sweet vegetable and complements it perfectly. You get that subtle hint of spice, without the soup actually tasting spicy. While in the stir fry, the curry leaves are used for tempering, for the soup, I dry roast them on the stovetop for 2 to 3 minutes on a medium flame and then blend with the oven-roasted pumpkins. For all soups in general, roasting all dry ingredients (even the garlic) enhances the flavour so much more.
2 cups pumpkin, cubed
½ cup curry leaves, dry roasted (a little extra for a stronger flavour)
4 cloves garlic
¾ cup onions, chopped
½ cup cashew nuts
1½ tsp garlic salt (or to taste)
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp butter
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 tsp pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200° Celcius.
- Soak the cashews in warm water for 30 minutes. If you would like to use heavy cream in the soup for creaminess, you could eliminate cashews or use a little of both.
- Dry roast the curry leaves on a stovetop and keep aside. This can be done ahead of time and stored in an airtight container.
- Rub garlic salt and butter evenly on the pumpkin cubes and place them on a tray and roast at 200° Celcius for approximately 20 minutes or until soft (not brown). Place the garlic pods on the same tray as well for roasting.
- In the meantime, in a thick bottomed pan, heat butter and add chopped onions and cook until brown.
- Bring all prepared ingredients (cashews, curry leaves, pumpkin, garlic and onions) to room temperature and blend in a high-speed blender.
- In the same pan used for frying onions, add back the puréed mix and stock, mix well and bring to boil. Add the stock slowly, stirring well to make sure you do not thin out the soup too much. If it’s too thick, add more broth.
- Taste for salt, reduce heat and simmer (covered) for another 5 minutes. If using heavy cream, this is when you add it, just before turning off the heat.
- Add some freshly ground pepper and serve hot with cheese sticks or a slice of warm bread.
There are recipes and there are universally accepted recipes. You know, the ones which three generations all enjoy equally. It is an added bonus that these cutlets make a complete meal and are also great finger foods for babies (if you practice baby-led weaning just exclude the cashews to avoid choking and likewise the chillies). Calorie counters can replace the potato with sweet potato. I love this as the perfect accompaniment to a cup of masala chai. Did I say, these are extremely easy to whip up too?
½ small pumpkin (around 1½ cups), chopped into cubes and boiled
1 medium-sized potato, boiled and mashed
2 tbsp breadcrumbs, or more to achieve a binding consistency
1½ tbsp ginger-garlic paste
½ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp amchoor (raw mango powder)
½ tsp garam masala (curry powder)
¼ tsp red chilli powder (optional)
2 green chillies, chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
¼ cup sooji (semolina)
1½ tsp Himalayan rock salt
6-8 cashews, halved vertically
4 tbsp oil (for shallow frying)
- Boil the pumpkin in a pressure cooker or a wok with some water until soft. Drain away the water (you can retain the water for making veg stock) and mash the pumpkin to a smooth paste. Let it come to room temperature.
- Mix the mashed pumpkin with the mashed potato and the remaining ingredients (except semolina and cashews) to make a semi-solid mixture. While adding breadcrumbs be cautious to do it gradually as too little and the mixture won’t bind, but too much and the cutlets will taste just like bread. Shape the mixture into palm-sized discs around 1½ cm thick. At this point you can pop them into the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes so the cutlets harden, making them easier to fry.
- Place the semolina on a flat surface so it spreads evenly and coats the discs evenly on both sides.
- Pressing gently, place the cashews in the centre of the discs and shallow fry in a non-stick pan on medium heat. Flip halfway through. Both sides should be cooked until evenly brown.
- Serve hot with a side of mint-coriander or tamarind-date dip.
Entertaining and looking for a not-so-sweet dessert? Try this Pumpkin Halwa. It is delicious as is, topped with nuts, or make a parfait with mascarpone and granola for crunch. I make two versions; one with cow’s milk and another with coconut milk. It’s amazing how different (but equally delicious) both versions are. Here is the recipe for both:
1 cup pumpkin (finely grated)
2 cups cow or coconut milk (you might have to tweak the amount of coconut milk based on the thickness of it)
3 tbsp ghee (for roasting the pumpkin)
½ cup nuts (almonds/pistachios/cashews) chopped coarsely
10 to 12 raisins or sultanas
½ cup raw sugar (or to taste if you like your halwa sweeter)
Saffron, a pinch
1 tsp cardamom powder
4 to 6 dried rose petals, for garnish
- Heat ghee in a non-stick pan. When hot, add the nuts and roast on medium heat until slightly brown. Keep aside.
- In the same pan, add the grated pumpkin and stir continuously on medium heat. Cook until tender. If using cow’s milk you can keep this step short and add milk after sautéing for five minutes. Cover and let the pumpkin cook with milk for another 10 to 15 minutes on low flame, stirring intermittently. However, if using coconut milk make sure the pumpkin is cooked through and soft before adding the coconut milk. Coconut milk doesn’t take too long to get absorbed. Mix well and cover for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Crush the saffron strands in a small mortar and pestle and steep in warm milk before adding to the milk-pumpkin mixture.
- Add sugar and raisins, mix well and let the mixture sit covered for another two minutes before turning off the flame.
- Add the nuts and cardamom powder and mix well. Serve hot garnished with dried rose petals.
Read more: Indian Curry Recipes From One Wholesome Meal
All images courtesy of One Wholesome Meal.