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How pumpkin is eaten around the world

Aliza Gulab   

How pumpkin is eaten around the world
LifeThelife2 min read
  • Cultures around the world use pumpkins in their cooking.
  • In Armenia, the inside of the pumpkin is stuffed with boiled rice, dried fruit, nuts, and honey.
  • South African pampoenkoekies are tiny pumpkin fritters made with cinnamon and nutmeg.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Aliza: Every year, Starbucks releases the infamous Pumpkin Spice Latte earlier and earlier, capitalizng on Americans' love for everything fall. But pumpkin is used in dishes around the world year-round. Let's take a look at how pumpkin is eaten in different cultures across the globe.

If you're a fan of sweet and savory, you're in for a treat with China's steamed pumpkin cake. This savory snack is made from a combination of dried shrimp, minced meat, mushrooms, peppers, shallot, batter, and of course, pumpkin.

In Armenia, pumpkins are gutted to prepare a dish called ghapama. The inside of the pumpkin is stuffed with boiled rice, dried fruits, nuts, and honey. It's baked until soft, and before serving, the pumpkin is sliced so that it can fall open like a flower. Ghapama is commonly used during the holidays and celebrations.

Fry pumpkin with shrimp is a common dish in Guyana. Pumpkin is cut into pieces and thrown into oil along with onion, garlic, and pepper. Once the pumpkin becomes loose, it's mashed to form a paste. The best shrimp to use in this dish is Guyana's white-belly shrimp. Fry pumpkin and shrimp is best eaten with roti.

Hobakjuk is Korean pumpkin porridge. It's perfect comfort food during the chilly seasons and can be served during breakfast or as a dessert. It's sometimes topped with sticky rice-cake balls. Russian pancakes are tiny, thick griddle cakes fluffed to perfection. They're made with kefir and pumpkin purée.

This Indian dessert is called kaddu ka halwa. Nuts like cashews, almonds, and pistachios are fried in ghee and mixed with grated pumpkin. Milk, sugar, and khoya are also added in. Kaddu ka halwa is a good choice of dessert during Diwali celebrations.

This is a Thai pumpkin custard dessert. A custard mix is made with coconut milk and palm sugar and poured into a kabocha squash. The entire pumpkin is steamed until the custard is set inside. Cut it open for a wonderful reveal and serve as is.

South African pumpkin fritters make a perfect bite-sized snack. Mashed pumpkin is mixed with cinnamon, nutmeg, and batter before being fried in a pan. For a finishing touch, add powdered sugar or drizzle sweet sauce on top.

Kabocha is a Japanese winter squash also known as a Japanese pumpkin. Simmered kabocha is easy to make. Simply season the kabocha with dashi, soy sauce, and sake. When simmered over heat, the skin becomes soft enough to eat. Simmered kabocha is typically eaten as a side dish.

Mexico's calabaza en tacha also calls for simmered pumpkin. It's sometimes referred to as Mexican candied pumpkin and is served in a cinnamon and piloncillo syrup with a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk. It's a popular dessert during Day of the Dead celebrations.

This Brazilian dish is shrimp stew stuffed inside of a pumpkin. Traditionally, a soft cheese called catupiry is spread inside the pumpkin shell before adding the delicious prawn stew.

Similar to Brazil's stuffed pumpkin, Argentina serves carbonada en zapallo, which is beef stew in a pumpkin.

For a similar dessert to pumpkin pie, you must try Egypt's kar assaly. This pumpkin béchamel pie is crustless and made with nuts and raisins and topped with sweet béchamel.

What pumpkin foods do you like? Are there any we missed? Let us know in the comments below.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This video was originally published in November 2019.