Weekday Vegetarian: Pumpkin with Chilies and Thai Basil

Weekday Vegetarian: Pumpkin with Chilies and Thai BasilPhoto: kelly Rossiter/CC BY 2.0

When I was a kid we never had pumpkin any way except in pies and pumpkin bread. The only fresh pumpkin we ever had was for carving at Halloween. Now I roast them, use them in soups and appetizers and lately I've been cooking them in a kind of combination of steaming and stir-frying. Of course, you can always roast the seeds as well. You can still get little pie pumpkins here, but they will be disappearing soon. If you can't get a pumpkin you can always substitute a squash.

I got this recipe from Epicurious, via The Kitchn. I made a few slight changes. I added the chilies earlier in the cooking process, rather than using it as a garnish. It gave the pumpkin a deeper bit of heat, rather than having it come at you in the garnish. These chilies are from my garden, and they are quite hot, so I used one, instead of the 3 the recipe actually called for. The recipe also called for oyster sauce, but I used hoisin in it's place. The recipe also called for 4 handfuls of Thai basil, which seemed excessive to me. It's a strong herb and I thought that much would overpower the more delicate flavour of the pumpkin.

This was quite a tasty dinner, and I'm looking forward to the leftovers for lunch today. I have the feeling that the flavours will deepen a bit with sitting.

Pumpkin with Chilies and Thai Basil

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, sliced
8 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 pie pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
1 - 2 hot red chilies, seeded and minced
1/2 cup water or vegetable broth
2 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1 small handful Thai basil leaves, to garnish

1. In a wok or deep skillet heat oil until it shimmers. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 or 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook until golden, about 3 minutes. Add pumpkin and chilies and stir to coat. Add water or vegetable broth. Cover and cook until pumpkin is almost tender about 15 minutes.

2. Add soy sauce, honey and hoisin sauce to the pumpkin and stir to coat. Cover again, and cook until pumpkin is completely tender. Serve over rice or noodles.

Weekday Vegetarian: Pumpkin with Chilies and Thai Basil
A great main course use for pumpkins, before they disappear for the year.

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