Thursday, October 25, 2012

Color of Autumn: Pumpkin

I didn't have the chance to experience a Nottingham summer.  By the time I got here it was already fall; last weekend the leaves were changing color and the falling leaves make a beautiful scene, which makes me think of pumpkin.

I like pumpkin because of the color and favor; also it is affordable and can make a wide variety of foods.  I can't find "Kabocha," also call Japanese pumpkin or winter squash, here.  I like it the best, it tastes sweeter than butternut squash and has an intense orange color.  But I have to make do with butternut squash instead.

So I brought three squash from Tesco, and made pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin cake, pumpkin millet porridge, pumpkin baked rice, pumpkin noodle...

Chinese style pumpkin cake is my favorite food.  Brian also loves it.   It can be a dessert or breakfast. It is made with sticky rice flour, the filling is black sesame paste (home made), and then fried. 

Sticky rice  pumpkin pancake

For the black sesame paste filling:
I remember my Mom is kind of OCD; she will pick up each sesame seeds one by one (because there is some dust there) then wash and dry them.  I don't follow these steps fortunately.  I just need to roast the seeds with very low heat.   When the aroma comes out they're done.  Then I ground them, mix with icing sugar and oil (truly authentic recipe should use lard), then roll them in my palms into one tsp-sized ball.  This filling can keep in the freezer a long time.

Now make the dough: steam the squash, when it gets soft, take the flesh and mash it until smooth.   Mix with sticky rice flour (you can find in any Chinese grocery);  we don't have an exact amount.  If it's too dry put more squash paste, if too liquid put more flour.   The dough should be smooth and sticky.  Cut the dough into small piece (~10g each),  then use your hand make a big round shape.  Put one piece of filling in, and seal it by pressing gently on a flat floured surface.  Repeat it till finished. 

Fry them in medium heat until both sides are golded.  Now enjoy it!  Even when it gets cold the sticky rice flour is still really soft and chewy.

The unmade ones can keep in the freezer one month.

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