This rustic Balti-baked pumpkin is the sort of recipe that earns you serious kitchen cred but only you know, deep down inside, that it’s actually way easier to put together than it looks. And aren’t those the best kind of recipes?
Balti-baked pumpkin with feta, tomato & mint
Baked butternut pumpkin rubbed with balti spices and filled with salty feta, sweet sun-dried tomatoes and fresh mint. No wonder this is a great veggie dish that is filling and packs a lot of flavour. There is no recipe as such for ‘balti’, as it actually refers to the pot that the dish is cooked in rather than a particular spice mix. However, across the world you can find balti spice blends and they typically contain the spices I have used in this recipe, so I have called this dish a balti in terms of the particular spicing of the dish.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
2 butternut pumpkins, cut in half lengthways and seeds removed
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp vegetable oil or light olive oil
50g (13/4oz) spinach leaves, roughly chopped
50g (13/4oz) feta cheese, crumbled
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped mint leaves
6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and roughly chopped
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Lay the pumpkin, cut-side up, on a baking sheet.
Roughly crush the cumin and coriander seeds, peppercorns and chilli flakes with a pestle and mortar before mixing in the garam masala and oil. Rub all over the pumpkin, especially on the flesh side, and bake in the oven for 45 minutes, or until you can put a knife through the flesh of the squash easily.
In the meantime, make the filling by mixing together the spinach, feta, garlic, mint, sun-dried tomatoes and lemon juice.
When the pumpkin is soft, take out of the oven and scoop out nearly all the flesh, leaving a 1cm (1/2in) border of flesh around the inside of each squash half. Mix the scooped-out squash with the filling and pop it all back into the grooves you have just carved out.
Sprinkle over the lemon rind and roast in the oven for a further 10 minutes before serving.
This is an excerpt from Anjali Pathak’s Secrets From My Indian Family Kitchen, published by Hachette Australia, available here.