Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Homemade Pumpkin Puree. Toasted Masala Pepitas.

If you religiously follow FoodGawker and TasteSpotting, you would have realised one major fact. It's Fall!

Yes, Fall, of the autumn variety. Fall, in my opinion, is the best season, food-wise. Considering the mercury tends to dip a little during these months in Madras as well, indulge in all of the gorgeous apple and pumpkin recipes!

And if you've had enough Apple Crisp and Minestrone soup for a month, try something with pumpkin in it. Don't be dubious. I was. My Vegan Pumpkin bread was received with as much happiness as a batch of brownies, and that totally changed the way I looked at pumpkins.

They can be used for something other than haphazardly carved Jack-o'-Lanterns. Think soups, pastry, pies, curries and a host of other random deliciousness.

Almost all of the aforementioned recipes call for pumpkin puree. Warning: not even the snootiest of groceries at Madras stock these. In fact, they usually have no idea what you're talking of. Instead of harassing your America-based friends on Facebook for tins of Libby's Pumpkin puree... make your own.

Ask your kaigarikaar/sabziwala for Sugar pumpkins, the kind you use for making halwa. If you can track these down: yay, Step One cleared (yes, I'll save the enthusiasm for Step One of the USMLE variety). Let it ripen to the fullest. Cut it open, gut out the insides. Toast the seeds and flavour it with powders and potions of choice. Puree the gloriously-scented pumpkin flesh and use away!

Homemade Pumpkin Puree:


1 huge sugar pumpkin

Cut the pumpkin vertically into two halves. I'm tempted to say saggital section.

Scoop out the pumpkin seeds and innards, just like you would do for a papaya.

Cut into smaller sections, leaving the pumpkin peel/skin on.

You can see that I've packed a lot of the wedges in because my roasting tin was too small and I didn't want to bake twice. You totally shouldn't do that.

In a big roasting tray, arrange the wedges, cut-side down. Pour in a little water, so that the water level is about 2 cm.

Bake in a preheated oven (325 F or 180 C) for around a couple of hours. The pumpkin should be blistered on the outside.

Test one piece by digging in with a spoon. It should be soft with no resistance whatsoever.

Scoop out all of the flesh. When cool, blitz it in a mixie or use a hand blender to puree it.

Once pureed, pour the pumpkin into a bowl lined with muslin/cheesecloth or just use a huge-ass tea-sieve. Like you would for making hung yogurt. Let it filter for about an hour... plenty of pumpkin liquid would have steeped down.

Pour the pumpkin puree into a freezer-safe, airtight box and store in the freezer until you need it! Or you can just cling-film it and refrigerate if you're planning to use it in a couple of days.

Oh. P.S. Bonus recipe coming your way, since I post once in a long white.

Who wants to throw away those cute little pumpkin seeds that are bursting with nutrition and guilt-free nuttiness, right? Toast them and make a post-gym snack! Next best thing to them being dunked in dark chocolate and candy-coated, M&M style.

This is also something you can peck away at (my brother did call it bird-feed) while watching random episode of Criminal Minds/Rizzoli & Isles/Jersey Shore. Except that I don't watch Jersey Shore. Not every episode, first telecast and such like.

To change the topic very quickly, I give you:

Toasted masala pepitas:

Rinse the pumpkin seeds so that there are no pumpkin flesh/fibre sticking to it.

Dry them off with a kitchen towel or tissues. Except for scented-facial tissue. Don't ever do that.

Spread the dried pumpkin seeds on a baking tray lined with foil. Rub a small knob of butter onto the seeds.

Sprinkle over salt, red chilli powder/garam masala, garlic powder and tabasco sauce. Or use olive oil, italian seasoning, garlic powder and salt. Soy sauce, chilli powder, butter and tabasco. Whatever strikes your fancy. In various permutations and combinations.

Bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 F or 180 C in a preheated oven. Keep stirring it from time to time, so the pepitas don't burn. Pull them out, see if they're crispy. Cool. Munch away!

I'm so sorry I go Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Geek on you all the time. Give me my random moments? I'll give you true-and-tried recipes, with badly taken photos to boot.

Preferably ones that don't show my unmanicured hands (the dryness is because of living in smelly, powdery surgical gloves. Don't judge.)


  1. Are you actually putting up a FALL recipe in Madras?! FALL. Not Autumn, but FALL?


  2. There's neither Autumn nor Fall in Madras. We make our own seasons.

    Dude, there are something things American that I'm allowed to like! Case in point: Chex Mix, Hallowe'en, Litigation and Huge-ass salaries for doctors.

  3. Chex Mix gets old pretty quick. Halloween - ok. Litigation - depends on which side you're on. Huge-ass salaries, ok. But do you know how much med schools cost? :-o

    Also, Autumn sucks. Pretty leaves are alright, but it's freaking cold.