A fun part of Halloween is carving pumpkins with funny or scary faces. Pumpkins are grown on a massive scale for just this. Pumpkins used for carving tend to be larger, contain less flesh, and lack flavour. However, carving pumpkins are also edible! So don't be tempted to throw away your pumpkin after Halloween. I'm a big advocate of reducing food waste, so I present a vegan pumpkin recipe based on the Indian dish sabzi miloni - cooked vegetables with spices. Don't worry; the spices in this recipe give the pumpkin a delicious flavour.
This dish is a straightforward, quick and tasty meal that reduces food waste and may help you save money while getting the most out of your pumpkins.
I also have an Asian roasted pumpkin and coconut soup recipe, which you can use for your Halloween pumpkin leftovers.
Reducing Food Waste
Food waste is one of the significant issues we may not hear about too much. According to Friends of the Eart, about one-third of all food produced for human consumption is wasted. In the UK, supermarkets waste 240,000 tonnes of food, and the average UK family bins £470 worth of food.
As a chef, I have seen this issue first-hand. I have been fortunate to train under head chefs who were aware of this issue and instilled good habits in me from the beginning. All of our little actions can combine to create real change.
I grow what I can on our little balcony, like tomatoes, beans, amaranth and herbs. I also like to make recipes with leftovers that may otherwise go into the bin, like this vegan pumpkin recipe. Also, take a look at my watermelon rind tarbooz ki sabzi. Please don't throw your carrot tops into the bin; make my saag daal with carrot tops! Starve the bin of your apple peels and cores by making my homemade apple cider vinegar. Is your broccoli turning yellow? Give me one last chance with my vegan and gluten-free broccoli fritters. Finally, satisfy your sweet tooth with my candied orange peel.
- Green chilli
- Kala namak
- Mustard oil
See the recipe card for quantities.
To begin, prepare the ingredients. Wash the pumpkin thoroughly, slice it into wedges and cut the wedges into bite-sized cubes. We keep the skin as well.
Peel and julienne (cut into thin strips) the ginger. Slice the chilli if using.
Wash and pat dry the spinach. Finely chop the stems and roughly chop the leaves.
In a pan, bring mustard oil to a smoking point, then reduce the heat and add panchphoran, followed by asafoetida, ginger julienne and sliced green chilli, if using.
Add diced pumpkin, salt and a dash of water. Cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes till the pumpkin is soft, and you can cut through it with a spoon.
Add spinach stems and leaves and give it a mix. Cover and cook for 5 minutes
Once done, give it a mix and serve hot with paratha.
Some people don't like to use mustard oil. Feel free to substitute it with another type of oil. You will not need to bring it to the smoking point if you do.
You can replace kala namak with sea salt/table salt if you wish.
Like many of my recipes, I like to give a simple foundation from which you can be adventurous with your ingredients. A miloni dish is a dish of cooked mixed vegetables. You can substitute the pumpkin and the spinach for other vegetables. A suggestion to replace the pumpkin is aubergine, for instance. Perhaps replace the spinach with chard or another leafy green vegetable. You will need to adjust your cooking times depending on the vegetables used.
You can store this pumpkin and spinach miloni in the refrigerator for up to three days in an airtight container. You can freeze it too, but I would not recommend it due to the spinach.
You can also save the pumpkin seeds and roast them for a healthy snack.
Don't use baby spinach in this vegan pumpkin recipe, as it will wilt quickly and become a soggy mess.
The Indian spice mix is made from five spices. It consists of equal amounts of the following spices: Fenugreek seed, nigella seed, cumin seed, black mustard seed and fennel seed. In this spice mix, the spices remain whole and are not ground. Tempering or briefly frying the spice mix in hot oil releases its fragrance and flavour. Of course, if you can't find panchphoran in your local shops, you can make your own simply by mixing the individual whole spices.
Kala namak is a rock salt, also known as"Himalayan black salt", manufactured from salt mines in the Himalayas' regions. It is commonly used in Indian cooking and has a distinct eggy smell and taste. When ground, it has a pink colour. Ayurvedic medicine promotes various health benefits for kala namak.
Pumpkin and Spinach Miloni
- 500 gms Pumpkin
- 100 gms Spinach
- 1 tablespoon Panchphoran
- ¼ teaspoon Asafoetida
- 1 teaspoon Kala namak
- 1 tablespoon Mustard oil
- 20 gms Ginger
- Wash the pumpkin thoroughly, slice it into wedges, and cut it into bite-sized cubes.
- Peel and julienne (cut into strips) the ginger. Slice the chilli if you are using it.
- Wash and pat dry the spinach. Finely chop the stems and roughly chop the leaves.
- In a pan, heat the mustard oil to smoking point. Then reduce the heat and add the panchphoran, followed by asafoetida, ginger julienne and sliced green chilli, if using.
- Add the diced pumpkin, kala namak (or salt) and a dash of water. Cover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes until the pumpkin is soft and can be cut through with a spoon.
- Add the spinach stems and leaves and mix. Cover and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat.
- Once done, give it a mix and serve hot with parantha.
In a professional kitchen, food hygiene and safety are top priorities, and from the beginning of my training, I practised good habits and routines. Of course, practising good food hygiene and safety at home is also essential. Here are some fundamental practices to adopt in the kitchen.
- Wash your hands regularly while preparing, handling and cooking food.
- Wipe down countertops and high-contact points regularly.
- If you cook meat and fish, do not use the same utensils on cooked food that previously touched raw meat. Use separate chopping boards for meat and fish. Wash your chopping boards immediately after use.
- Thoroughly cook food to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C).
- Don't leave food at room temperature for extended periods (more than 2 hours).
- Store food correctly.
For more details regarding food hygiene and safety in the home, visit the UK Government's Food Standards Agency webpage.