In the United States, the autumn is dominated by pumpkin spice and other pumpkin-flavored food. Pumpkin pie will be on the tables of many homes this Thanksgiving. Pumpkin spiced lattes are best-sellers at coffee shops, and even pumpkin-flavored beer is fairly popular as the weather cools down. However, you might not realize that pumpkin is a staple ingredient all over the world, and many cultures have tasty, traditional dishes that use pumpkin to its fullest potential. Here are some of the best for you to try out this autumn season!
India – Kaddu ka Halwa
During the rainy season in India, many children look forward to visiting their grandparents and eating tons of this delightful dish prepared by their grandmas! Kaddu ka halwa is a sweet mixture, similar to pudding, with grated pumpkin, ghee, nuts, milk, cardamom, and sugar. It is also commonly sold in street stalls and garnished with extra nuts.
Myanmar – Pumpkin Curry
Curry dishes are everywhere in Asia, but Myanmar chefs know how to take it to the next level with their traditional pumpkin curry. It pairs pumpkin with tamarind to create a dish that hits all of the basic tastes at once. Usually includes onion, garlic, ginger, chili peppers, and turmeric – some chefs will add peanuts, but this is not strictly necessary. Served over rice to create a hearty, comforting meal!
Russia – Olad’i iz Tykvy
In Russia, pumpkins are perfect to pair with breakfast as the harsh winter approaches. Olad’i iz tykvy are pancakes that are made by combining buttermilk batter with pumpkin puree. This not only enriches the flavor of the pancakes, but also adds a bit of a silky texture to the mix. Russian families will typically make small pancakes with this mix and serve with honey, a bit of jam, or some sour cream.
Mexico – Calabaza en Tacha
Autumn in Mexico features El Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, and this dish is very popular during the celebrations. It is pumpkin skin which has been left to simmer and candied with cinnamon, orange zest, orange juice, and brown sugar. Served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, Calabaza en Tacha is a staple treat that makes all Mexicans instantly think of El Día de los Muertos.
Japan – Kabocha Dango
While dango, the traditional Japanese sweet, is usually made with rice flour, during the autumn you can find pumpkin dango. This sweet is made by mashing cooked pumpkin into a paste and mixing it with potato starch to allow it to be shaped before frying it in a pan. The filling can vary, but if you’re preparing it at home, try filling with the usual dango filling – azuki (red bean) paste.
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