EAT THE SEASONS!

I have seen lots of pumpkins in the markets and supermarkets around Perth, although their season does not begin until mid-September. Head to your local markets and take advantage because they are everywhere and at a good price.

For me pumpkins always make a heartwarming meal when the weather is cold and rainy!

This recipe reflects Indonesian style of cooking. Most of the time they use very low heat in cooking, meaning that the dishes take longer to cook and all the flavours of the the fresh ingredients are released.

This dish is rich in coconut milk and mildly spicy. Enjoy it!

Ingredients

  • 600 grams pumpkin, peeled and cubed
  • 2 medium size shallots, peeled and sliced into small cubes
  • A 2 centimetre piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 2 pandan leaves, knotted
  • 4 Kaffir lime leaves, bruised
  • 2 lemon grass stalks, bruised
  • 2 to 4 bird’s eye chillies, if desired
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 300 ml of coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup Thai basil, or lemon basil
  • Salt to taste

Method

  • Combine the shallots and ginger in a stone mortar and grind into a very fine paste.
  • Heat the oil in a sauce pan. Add the paste and half a cup of the chicken stock. Saute over a medium heat until fragrant.
  • Add the pumpkin cubes and stir until they are evenly coated with the paste.
  • Add the remaining ingredients, except for the basil and salt.
  • Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the pumpkin is almost soft.
  • Add the salt and the Thai basil and simmer for 2 more minutes.
  • Serve the braised pumpkin in a big bowl and decorate it with Thai basil leaves.

Tips

  • Make sure that the shallots are finely cut into very, very small cubes. It will be easier to grind. Wet ingredients can be difficult to grind because they contain water.
  • The easiest way to use the pandan leaves is to make a knot. This makes it easier to remove them before serving.
  • Serve the pumpkin with plain steamed rice.

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