My grandmother, from whom I learnt basic kitchen skills such as grinding, sautéing, frying, organising, timing, used to cook this dish for us when we were children. Humble yet delicious, it is comforting and can cheer me up on any gloomy day. When I decided to put it on the menu at Whisky Samba, I had my grandmother fly in to sample and approve the restaurant’s version. She rejected it outright. She said it had no soul. It was only after seveal rounds of trials, tweaks and adjustments – pounding the spices in a mortar instead of an electrical grinder, for instance – that my grandmother allowed her name and the dish to be put on the menu.
For The Pumpkin
- 180 gm yellow pumpkin
- 10 gm crushed black pepper
- 3 gm salt
- 2 gm fresh red chillies
- 20 ml olive oil
- 2 bay leaves
- 25 gm onion paste
- 25 gm fresh grated coconut
- 15 gm ginger paste
- 15 gm garlic paste
- 10 gm onion seeds
- 3 gm fresh green chillies
- 2 gm salt
- 15 ml mustard oil
- 1 tsp homemade garam masala (recipe below)
- ½ tsp roasted cumin powder
- Cardamom powder to taste
For Homemade Garam Masala
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp whole black peppercorn
- 7 cloves
- 5 green cardamoms
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Goat cheese
For Garam Masala
- Roast all the ingredients together in a dry pan and grind them to a fine powder.
- Preserve in an airtight container for later use.
For The Pumpkin
- Cut the pumpkin into thick wedges.
- Marinate the wedges with salt, crushed black pepper, bay leaves and olive oil.
- Put the marinated pumpkin into a vacuum bag and seal it properly.
- Place it in a sous-vide machine set at 65 degree Celsius for 15 minutes.
- Take the vacuum bag out and set aside to cool.
- Once cool, take the wedges out of the bag and coat them with finely-chopped fresh red chillies.
- Place the wedges in an oven set at 165 degree Celsius for 10 minutes.
For The Sauce
- Soak the onion seeds in water for 2 hours.
- Broil the soaked seeds in a dry pan and place it in a cloth.
- Rub rigorously to remove as much of the black husk as possible.
- Heat mustard oil in a pan.
- Add ginger and garlic pastes and sauté for a few minutes.
- Stir in onion paste and cook the masala through.
- Add the grated coconut, onion seed paste and green chillies.
- Finish the sauce with roasted cumin powder, cardamom powder and homemade garam masala powder.
- Simmer the roasted pumpkin wedges in the sauce for a few minutes.
- Plate the dish and garnish with a few chunks of goat cheese.