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The worldly pumpkin

When the beautiful fall squash beckons, look to Asia for dishes that make the most of its sweet flesh.

November 08, 2006|Regina Schrambling | Special to The Times

5. Working in batches, dredge the pumpkin slices first in the flour, shaking off the excess, then in the batter. (If the batter gets too thick, add a little more club soda and whisk lightly.) Lay the battered pumpkin into the hot oil without crowding. Cook, turning once, until the pieces are crisp outside and tender inside and caramelizing around the edges, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve warm with the dipping sauce.

Each of 6 servings: 355 calories; 6 grams protein; 47 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 15 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 34 mg. cholesterol; 1,072 mg. sodium.

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Vietnamese glazed pumpkin

Total time: \o71 hour

\f7

Servings: \o74 to 6

\f7

Note: \o7From "The Foods of Vietnam" by Nicole Routhier\f7

1 (3-pound) cheese or pie pumpkin

1 tablespoon peanut oil

6 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup chicken stock

1 tablespoon Vietnamese fish sauce

2 tablespoons sugar

Freshly ground black

pepper

Steamed rice (optional)

1. Peel and seed the pumpkin. Cut the flesh into 1-inch cubes.

2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the garlic and fry for a few seconds without browning. Add the pumpkin and fry 1 minute, shaking to coat the cubes with oil. Add the stock, fish sauce and sugar and mix well. Bring to a rapid boil. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and simmer 20 to 25 minutes, until the pumpkin is tender but not mushy and the sauce is reduced to about 2 tablespoons. If there is still too much liquid in the pan, raise the heat and boil uncovered to reduce it to a glaze.

3. Sprinkle the pumpkin with black pepper to taste and serve at once, over rice if you like.

Each of 6 servings: 100 calories; 2 grams protein; 19 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 3 grams fat; 0 saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 245 mg. sodium.

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Thai red curry duck with pumpkin

Total time: About 2 hours

Servings: 4

1 tablespoon peanut or

vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

4 shallots, thinly sliced

3 cups coconut milk

2 to 3 teaspoons Thai red curry paste

4 duck legs, skin and fat removed

Salt

1 (2-pound) sugar or cheese pumpkin, seeded, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons julienned Thai basil (or chopped

cilantro)

Cooked rice, such as jasmine or a short-grain rice

1. In a deep heavy skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil. Add the garlic, ginger and shallots and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and 2 teaspoons of the curry paste. Season the duck legs well with three-fourths teaspoon salt and add to the pan. Bring to a simmer, cover the pan and cook until the duck is very tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the duck legs to a plate and let stand until cool enough to handle.

3. Add the diced pumpkin to the pan and return to a simmer. Cook, covered, until the pumpkin is soft but not mushy, about 45 minutes.

4. Shred the duck meat into bite-size chunks and return it to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is heated through. Stir in the lime juice. Taste and add more curry paste or salt if needed. Sprinkle with the basil and serve with rice.

Each serving: 582 calories; 27 grams protein; 22 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams fiber; 46 grams fat; 34 grams saturated fat; 79 mg. cholesterol; 112 mg. sodium.

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