Winter is slowly blowing away from the city. At night the hot air already sneaks in to our bedrooms. We need to crank up the fan to sleep now. I put my winter clothes away and tug the thick blankets in a storage under my bed. I never like summer. It makes me feel tired and annoyed at the same time. Oh, and I also need to spend a fortune on sunblock if we have to go outdoors.
There are very few things I like about Summer— an excuse to buy lots of ice cream and the colorful tropical fruits that will blossom all over the markets. We will be eating a lot of fresh and delicious food. Clean, vibrant and mostly cold. I am looking forward to that.
And while the season is changing, I’m wrapping up everything wonderful about winter. We made Korean BBQ in our balcony last week, we enjoy a lot of herbal tea in our cozy balcony, and I’m cleaning my fridge from all the gorgeous produce this season had brought us. A lot of root vegetables, winter melon, and heavy juicy bok choy are chopped and diced into a big pot for soup.
When I was a kid, in winter we would harvest pumpkins. I remember seeing a mountain of pumpkins on the side the kitchen and wondering how in the world we would finish them before they went bad. The lovely thing about pumpkins is they can stay fresh really long after being harvested. But believe it or not, we always managed to consume a big mountain of our homegrown pumpkins really quickly. Locally and seasonally grown produce always tastes wonderful. It’s a reason why we didn’t seem to be tired of the sweet soft pumpkins. A very basic dish we always had was Steamed Pumpkin with Coconut and Sugar. I used to think that it was ridiculous— a lazy dessert people made when they didn’t have time to elaborately cook the delightful pumpkin custard (I will share that recipe of this custard in the future). But the fact is: it’s the most humble way to savor the delicate earthy flavor of pumpkin. It’s very healthy and rustic. We not only have it as dessert, but we usually enjoy it as breakfast or snack as well.
There is something very liberate about this recipe. I feel in control and happy whenever I do this. I wash the whole pumpkin really well and cut it in halves. No need of removing the hard shell-like skin; that’s really save a lot of time. Then I use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. After that, I slice it like watermelon and steam it until the pumpkin is soft. Grated coconut and sugar is added on the hot pumpkin later. Usually we use white sugar, but since I adore coconut sugar so much I use this fragrant sugar instead.
Oh my God, this is actually my last jar of coconut sugar. As you can see, I’m completely hooked. We got this one from Kerala during our road trip, but sadly they don’t ship, so we will need to find other sources. And it’s such a bummer that it is quite expensive online.
Anyway, we scoop the delicious pumpkin with a spoon and eat when it’s hot. It’s so good— like natural custard, soft and sweet. So Delicious Steamed Pumpkin, you will be one big thing I’m going to miss about winter.
Steamed Pumpkin with Coconut and Sugar
1 whole medium size pumpkin (you can use any size of pumpkin depending on your serving)
1 cup grated fresh coconut
Coconut sugar to taste (You can use regular sugar or organic brown sugar)
Wash the whole pumpkin and cut it into slices. Discard the seeds and the soft membranes inside the pumpkin.
Steam the pumpkin until soft. You can check by pricking the pumpkin with a fork; it should go through smoothly.
Turn off the heat and transfer the pumpkin to the serving plate while it’s hot.
Add coconut and sugar as per your liking.
Serve hot and enjoy.
By the way, our balcony garden is looking very lovely lately. Our pumpkin plants grow really fast and start giving flower buds already. We hope to get healthy delicious pumpkins from them soon.