Pumpkiny Wumpkiny


Usually when I think of pumpkins, the Butternut pumpkin comes immediately to mind. An hourglass-shaped pumpkin which makes for a decidedly tasty and wintery soup, paired with condiments like fried bacon, chopped parsley or even an indulgent little drizzle of pure cream. If not reserved for soup, it’s puree can be transformed into scones, muffins and spiced pumpkin pie (though the latter is not very prevalent here in Australia). It is also great cut into wedges (leave the skin on, it actually has a really nice flavour, once roasted), tossed in olive oil and spices, roasted until tender, and served as a side dish (Jamie Oliver has a good recipe for this). The Queensland Blue and Jarrahdale, two regional varieties of pumpkin you also see frequently in the shops here, remind me more of the pumpkin my sister and I once carved for Halloween. Carved pumpkins are meant to ward off evil spirits, but ours seemed to attract a few pests and after a couple of days, I was starting to get creeped out by the rot and mould that had set in, making the facial features sag.

When not being taken to with a knife for such artistic endeavours, all types of pumpkins are high in Vitamins A and B, and their seeds contain a lot of Zinc, which is good for the prostate and the immune system. And here’s an interesting little bit of trivia that I also learnt from Wikipedia : apparently, you can roughly guess the number of seeds contained in a pumpkin by multiplying the number of fruiting sections by 16!

This pumpkin salad, from a recent issue of Gourmet Traveller is, in my opinion, an absolute winner. I like it served warm, as befitting the current weather, and don’t stinge on the tahini sauce – generous lashings of it really make the salad.

Roast pumpkin and chickpea salad :
(recipe by Joseph Abboud from Rumi)

100g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in cold water, then drained
1 cinnamon quill
1/2 onion, halved
1.2 kg pumpkin, peeled, seeds removed and cut into 2cm pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup Dukkah

Tahini sauce :
125g tahini
1 clove garlic, pounded to a paste with a pinch of salt
90ml lemon juice
15ml (3 teaspoons) orange juice
15ml olive oil

Combine chickpeas, cinnamon and onion in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to boil, simmer for 20-30 minutes or until tender. Drain and discard cinnamon and onion.

Preheat oven to 220’C. Place pumpkin in a roasting pan, season with sea salt, drizzle with oil, scatter with allspice and toss to combine. Roast, turning occasionally, for 25-30 minutes until golden and tender.

For the tahini sauce, place tahini in a bowl and slowly stir in 90ml cold water, then whisk in remaining ingredients and season with sea salt. Makes about 250ml. Sauce will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Gently combine pumpkin, chickpeas, parsley and Dukkah in a bowl and season to taste. Spread 1/4 cup tahini sauce over a plate, top with salad, drizzel with an extra 2 tablespoons tahini sauce and serve.

This week’s WHB is hosted by Susan of Food Blogga. Nevermind the healthy and delicious sounding wild rocket pasta recipe she features for WHB, you should check out the insane-sized lobsters she had recently. The claw alone might have fed me for a week! (if only…)



  1. Susan from Food Blogga said,

    July 16, 2007 @ 4:28 am

    Aw, thanks for the plug, Y! And thanks for this fabulous recipe. Honestly, I adore all of the ingredients in this recipe, especially the cinnamon and tahini. Oh, I’m awaiting the winter as we speak! Thanks for a truly delicious WHB entry.

  2. ceviz said,

    July 16, 2007 @ 2:47 pm

    Hi, I’ll definitely try this out and a good way of using up the dukkah. Dukkah is Egyptian but has almost become Australian, isn’t it? Thanks.

  3. Y said,

    July 16, 2007 @ 7:37 pm

    Susan : I don’t know how you can be waiting for winter when there’s still LOBSTERS to be had! 😀

    Ceviz : It certainly has! Especially with the inclusion of wattleseed or macadamia nuts in the mix (I’ve seen such “Australian” flavoured Dukkahs around).

  4. Kalyn said,

    July 17, 2007 @ 2:29 am

    Sounds very yummy. In the U.S. this is called butternut squash, so when I first started reading blogs from other places I was always confused when they said pumpkin. I haven’t tasted Dukkah, but I want to try it! And I love tahini so I’m guessing this would be a big hit with me.

  5. Trisha said,

    January 22, 2010 @ 3:58 am

    OK – great recipes and this one a winner – can wait to try it. If Americans are reading the recipes they need to understand that any sort of pumpkin will work – in fact because Butternut squash is so watery it does not do as well as a firmer pumpkin – even Acorn Squash go better. Australia and most other countries of the world have a variety of wonderful pumpkins to cook with and dont adulterate them all the time by cooking them with sugar- al la USA Thanksgiving!!) When good pumpkin is not available then use Sweet Potatoe (Kumara) instead. And if you cant find Dukka – google it – its easy to make but also available at specialty stores in the USA

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