Pumpkin is a versatile vegetable. You can make both savoury and sweet with it. Though it is past halloween and thanksgiving, pumpkin continues to be on my dinner table.
I usually make stuffed mushrooms and capsicum/peppers, but pumpkins! I looked up a few recipes online and was inspired by Jamie Oliver’s recipe. It does take time, but completely worth the time. It looks spectacular on the dinner table and is delectable. The sweetness from the pumpkin, the spicy coating and the fragrant basmati rice filling entices you to have more. Worth making for a special occasion. This is surely a show stopper!
It is always a challenge to estimate how much rice is needed for stuffing, since sizes of the pumpkins are different. Put some saran/ plastic wrap into the pumpkin. Fill it with slightly less than half the rice. Pour it into a measuring cup and use double the water/stock.
You can give this an Indian twist by adding some 1/2 tsp garam masala, 1/2 tsp coriander powder or 1 tsp biryani masala to the rice.
- 1 big pumpkin (1 kg) or 2 small (1/2 kg) pumpkins
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 cup peppers/ capsicum chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn
- 1 cup basmati rice – washed and drained
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 1 tsp black pepper powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- salt to taste
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1/3 cup pista nuts or almonds
- 2 cups water/ stock
- Wash the pumpkins well
- Cut the lid off the pumpkin and scoop out all the seeds. Scoop out some of the flesh. Save the lid and the flesh. Chop the flesh and keep aside
- In a pestle and mortar, add two cloves of garlic, chilli, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper powder and 1 tsp salt. Mash it with 1 tsp of olive oil and make a paste.
- Smear half the paste on the inside of the pumpkin.
- In a pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and saute. Add vegetables including the chopped pumpkin and saute for a few minutes.
- Add rice, remaining paste, cumin powder and saute till translucent.
- Heat the water or stock
- Add salt to taste (if using stock, be careful with the amount of salt you add)
- Let it simmer for about 3 minutes. (If you keep it for longer the rice will get overcooked while baking)
- Mix in the nuts
- Spoon in the rice mixture into the pumpkin and cover with the lid.
- Place pumpkin on a double layer of aluminum foil.
- Rub the outside of the pumpkin with olive oil.
- Wrap the pumpkin well with aluminum foil.
- Preheat oven to 230ºC/450ºF
- Place pumpkins in the oven and bake for about an hour.
- Pierce the pumpkin with a knife, if the knife goes through easily, the pumpkin is cooked.
- Take out aluminum foil and serve. Cut into wedges.