Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Afghan Pumpkin- Part II

   I posted a while ago about my first attempt at an Afghan Pumpkin dish... as you may remember, I found it overly sweet and was a little disappointed. Never one to give up on half a pumpkin, I continued onwards... most of the pumpkin recipes I saw online were either the one I initially posted, or this one, which has the same pumpkin preparation, with the addition of lamb in tomato sauce

I wasn't really feeling the whole lamb thing, so as usual, hacked something together out of things in my cupboard, in this case, lentils and textured vegetable protein (TVP) which is an excellent substitute for ground meat in almost all contexts.

"Meat" sauce:
1/3c lentils, cooked (boil them until they taste reasonable, not too many directions there).
1/4c TVP, soaked in water to rehydrate
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped (because I had it... optional)
1 small (8oz) can tomato sauce
1/2c water
~2 tsp fresh ginger or ginger paste
2 tsp garlic, chopped
1 tsp coriander
oil for browning

Basically, brown the onion and red pepper in the oil. Toss in the lentils and TVP, then the liquid ingredients and spices. Cook until it makes a nice sauce. If you're in a carnivorous mood, just use ground lamb or beef.

To serve, make some brown rice or other grain (I used the frozen brown rice from Trader Joes), heat the pumpkin from recipe 1 (http://yellowfishblog.blogspot.com/2010/11/afghan-pumpkin-part-i.html) and put it over the rice, being sure to get some of the sauce. Then, top that with the yogurt sauce (as a reminder, it was the easiest sauce ever- basically, just yogurt, garlic and salt), and then finally with the 'meat' sauce mixture.

This was vastly superior to the first version... it actually was a really interesting mixture of sweet (the pumpkin), savory (the tomato mixture), and tart (the yogurt sauce). I actually liked it, which was a big improvement from Recipe I which was just to sweet for me to eat. The main barrier between me making it again and not is that honestly, dealing with that pumpkin was a giant pain. I think you could probably do something similar with butternut squash, and that I might try. At any rate, its a really unique taste experience, a cuisine you don't run into every day, and in general is worth giving it a shot! 

*this version is vegetarian, if you came up with some replacement for the yogurt, it could become vegan, but I would absolutely not leave out the yogurt sauce entirely, it added a lot to the overall experience, particularly cutting the sweet of the pumpkin.

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