This article and recipe first appeared in the Autumn 2013 issue of Sample Magazine.
There isn’t a vegetable that screams Autumn more than pumpkin. At this time of year, the sheer variety and abundance of pumpkins at the farmers market, coupled with their silky smooth flesh, makes them a joy to work with in the kitchen.
The cooler evenings of Autumn call for meals that are comforting, but not too rich. That’s when I reach for my spice rack to inspire me and help avoid the temptation of fatty braising meats. After all, there are plenty of opportunities to stock up on calories over Winter with all the puddings on offer.
Curries are a great way to warm up, but are often enriched with cream, butter or coconut milk, depending on which corner of the globe they are from, and although this makes them delicious, it also adds lots of extra saturated fat.
Using a complex spice mix is the easiest way to add intense flavour while keeping the meal really healthy. Spices are actually a fantastic source of antioxidants and should make their way into everyone’s daily diet as a replacement for too much salt.
Ras el hanout is a spice blend from Morocco that combines up to 30 different spices and the exact recipe differs from village to village. Some households even guard their family blend with a thick cloak of secrecy!
Here I have put together a very simplified version so that beginners to Moroccan cuisine can have a red hot go at whipping this up with ease. In fact, if you work quickly you can have it on the table in 30 minutes – just be sure to head to your local farmers market and pick up a fresh, seasonal pumpkin to make it extra special.
I am trying not being braggy at all when I say that I am genuinely stoked to have my name on the front cover of this issue!
I may have squealed like a school girl when I saw it posted on Facebook by the publisher Remy Tancred. Then I immediately shared it on my facebook page and so many of you were so kind to like and comment on it – thank you so much, I cannot express enough how appreciated your support is!
You might have noticed I have been posting a little less recently, and for the last week nothing at all. I have a good reason and I’ll share it tomorrow – see you then!
Lastly, linking this up with Veggie Mama’s Meatless Mondays. Click through for lots of veggie feasts!
Moroccan Pumpkin Curry
A heavily spiced, but light curry that is based on tomato and combines seasonal pumpkin with chickpeas and beans. If you like a good chilli hit, then double the amount suggested, and don’t forget to dollop on some thick natural yoghurt to help cool your palate.
- 1 tbs vegetable oil
- 1 brown onion, diced
- 400g can diced tomatoes
- 1kg pumpkin (whole weight), peeled, deseeded and chopped into chunks
- 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 100g green beans, sliced into short lengths
- 4 tbs thick plain yoghurt
- coriander leaves, to garnish
- cooked couscous, to serve
Simple Moroccan spice mix
- 1 tsp each of ground cumin, ground coriander, ground cinnamon, ground ginger and ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp each of ground chilli powder, ground nutmeg and ground white pepper
1. Make the spice mix by combining all the spices in a small bowl. Stir well to combine and set aside.
2. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep, heavy-based saucepan and fry the onion for 5 minutes until golden brown. Add the spice mix and stir to coat the onions, then add the can of diced tomatoes and fill the empty can with water and pour that in too.
3. Add the pumpkin, chickpeas, beans and season with salt. Simmer over medium heat, partially covered, for 15 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender but not mushy.
4. Serve garnished with yoghurt and coriander over couscous or rice. Enjoy!