Flowers – Tofu-stuffed Pumpkin Blossoms
Pumpkin blossoms are beautiful and plentiful. But they are short lived and tends to fall off soon. Collect them after they have bloomed and begins to wilt later in the day. Wrapped the blossoms in paper and keep in the fridge until you have enough for a meal.
12 – 15 pumpkin blossoms
300 g firm tofu
30 g tapioca starch
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp stock powder of any variety you like
1/2 tsp sugar
dash of pepper
salt if needed
additional tapioca starch for dusting
1. Remove the anthers from the blossoms. Rinse them clean, shake off the water and allow to air dry.
2. Mash tofu and combine with tapioca starch, egg whites, stock powder, sugar and pepper. Fry some on a pan and taste. Add salt if necessary.
3. Stuff each blossom with tofu filling until 2/3 full. Close up the blossom.
4. Coat each blossom with tapioca starch. Pat the blossom tight and shake off excess starch.
5. Deep fry the stuffed blossoms until a crust forms and turns lightly golden.
Fruit – Pumpkin Mushroom Red Curry
The fruit of the pumpkin has beautiful flesh that can range from bright yellow to orange due to the presence of beta carotene. Sweet and creamy, it is very versatile, and can be used in both savoury dishes as well as sweet desserts. The skin of the pumpkin is edible as well.
1 medium pumpkin weighing about 2 kg
250 g local fresh mushrooms, torn or sliced
2 tbsp red curry paste
1/2 red onion, cut into wedges
1 red chilli, thickly sliced
1/2 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup water
handful of Thai basil
fish sauce for seasoning
oil for cooking
1. Cut off the top of the pumpkin. Remove the seeds and rinse it clean. Place the pumpkin into a deep dish that allows it to stand upright. Steam for 15 minutes.
2. As the pumpkin steams, place pan over high heat and pour in a tablespoon of oil. Sauté red onion until fragrant. Add chilli and sauté for another few seconds.
3. Add red curry paste, water and coconut milk. Stir until mixture comes to a boil.
4. Add mushrooms and return to a boil.
5. Taste and season with fish sauce.
6. Add Thai basil. Remove from heat.
7. Fill steaming pumpkin's cavity with mushroom curry until almost full.
8. Continue to steam the pumpkin for another 20 minutes or until it is cooked.
Seeds – Roasted Pumpkin Seeds with Nam Yu
The seeds of the pumpkin are edible, and is locally known as white kuaci. They are usually roasted with salt, but I opt for a more oriental flavour. Red fermented yeast or Nam Yu is a common condiment that can be used as a seasoning as well. If the seeds are not too mature and are roasted well enough, they turn crispy and can be eaten whole.
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup water
2/3 tsp salt
1 tsp red fermented beancurd
3/4 tsp red yeast powder
1. Rinse pumpkin seeds to clean.
2. Bring water to a boil. Add pumpkin seeds and salt. Simmer for 10 minutes, then drain.
3. Mix the drained seeds with red fermented beancurd and red yeast powder.
4. Spread out on a lined baking tray.
5. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 15 minutes or until the seeds crisp up.
Shoots – Pumpkin Shoots with Hot and Sour Dressing
Pumpkin shoots are the tips of the pumpkin plant. In appearance, it is similar to chayote shoots with curly tendrils, except is is hairy. The hair should be removed as much as possible during preparation. In Malaysia, it is usually cooked with coconut milk in a dish called pucuk labu masak lemak. We’ll try something different here.
16 stalks pumpkin shoots
3 shallots, finely minced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 red chilli, finely minced
2 tbsp sweetened black vinegar
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
3 tbsp cooking oil
1. Remove hair from pumpkin shoots either by scraping or shaving. Rinse well. Pluck each stalk into 2 inch lengths until the stem starts to feel tough. Discard tough bits of stem.
2. Blanch the trimmed pumpkin shoots in boiling water for 1 minute and drain. Dip them into cold water to stop them cooking further. Drain well and place on a serving plate.
3. Heat a pan and add 3 tablespoons of oil. Sauté minced garlic and shallots until they turn almost golden. Add minced chilli and continue to sauté until the garlic and shallots turn golden. Pour this over the blanched pumpkin shoots.
4. Mix the rest of the ingredients together and drizzle over the pumpkin shoots.
5. Toss and serve.
Recipes by Wendy Yip.