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September 21, 2014 | by  | in Food Opinion |
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Spicy pumpkin salad

To mark the end of root-vegetable season, try this spicy salad. It’s inspired by the Chow pumpkin salad and it tastes just as good (if I do say so myself), and it’s very easy to make. With seeds, nuts and lots of fresh ingredients, it’s perfect energy food for this stressful tail end of the year. All of the fresh ingredients (lemongrass included) can be sourced at the vegetable markets.

¼ of a pumpkin
3 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 handfuls of fresh coriander
2 handfuls of fresh mint
2 teaspoons chilli powder
3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
3 tablespoons unroasted, unsalted peanuts
1 stalk of lemongrass
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
salt and pepper
vegetable oil

Remove the skin and centre of the pumpkin and chop it into 2-inch chunks. Rub it with olive oil, the chilli powder, half the quantities of cumin seeds and coriander seeds, and salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at 180 °C for half an hour or so, turning every 10 minutes, until cooked through.

Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool. After removing the outer leaves, chop the lower part of the lemongrass stalk (or grate if you find that easier), and put in a frying pan. Add the garlic and ginger (fresh is best but not essential) to the pan, along with both measures of seeds, peanuts, the other measures of cumin and coriander seeds, and two tablespoons of vegetable oil. Cook, stirring often, on a medium heat for 3–4 minutes or until the pan is very fragrant, the garlic is cooked, and the nuts and seeds start to go golden.

Tear the coriander and mint leaves, mix with the pumpkin, and pour the seed-and-nut mixture on top.

I served mine with a Thai noodle salad with julienned raw vegetables, sesame oil, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and lime juice.

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