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November 08, 2009

Sunday's with Marlena Spieler - Libyan Spicy Pumpkin Dip


Sunday's with Marlena Spieler is a fun project that three of us will continue till we finish cooking the complete cookbook called Jewish Cooking by Marlena Spieler. The cook book is educative to start with, giving the reader a peep into the history and tradition of the Jews.

This is a Sephardi dip from a Libyan Jewish restaurant. I have made a few changes to the recipe- can I restrain myself from doing that, Nah!.

Jews who settled in lberian peninsula (Modern Spain & Portugal) are called Sephardi Jews. Living in distant lands and mingling with different cultures, a cuisine emerged with influences from these regions. Sephardi cooking uses olive oil, garlic and fresh herbs.

The original recipe called for ground ginger,cumin and curry powder. I decided to use fresh ginger. When I saw curry powder, I started researching on what spices make a curry powder and some of the common ingredients were cardamom, turmeric powder, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and cayenne. I made my own :), ( 1 T- cardamom seeds, 1 T- Cumin, 1/2 tsp- Coriander seeds. Dry roast the three spices and powder along with cayenne and turmeric)

This recipe is perfect for Thanksgiving and to use your left over pumpkin from Halloween.

Olive Oil- 2 T
Red Onion - 1/2, finely chopped
Garlic- 5 pods, minced
Pumpkin- 1 1/2 lbs, peeled and chopped
Fresh ginger- 1/4 tsp, minced
Curry Powder- 1 tsp
Canned Tomatoes- 1/4 cup
Jalapeno- 1, finely chopped ( I did not remove seeds)
Lemon Juice- 2 tsp
Cilantro - 1 tsp, finely chopped
  • Heat oil in a saute pan, add onion and garlic.
  • Cook until the onion turn soft, immediately add the pumpkin and cover with a lid. Let it cook on medium low for about 15 minutes.
  • Add rest of the spices and cook for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir in the canned tomatoes and cook until the water has completely evaporated.
  • When the pumpkin is tender, mash the pumpkin coarsely with a masher.
  • Squeeze lemon juice over the pumpkin and stir well.
  • Check for seasonings and adjust per taste.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro.
I served the dip with pita bread. We simply loved this dip. I would eat this even with a steaming cup of rice.

You can buy Marlena's cookbook here. For more fun recipes from Marlena's cook book , check Mel & Eileen's blog.

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