Dubai: It's almost Halloween. What is more nostalgic than candies for treats and fall food, which is all about slow cooked suppers shared with loved ones. But there is more to the Halloween tradition of food than trick or treat.
The modern Halloween celebrated and popularised by America is actually an old Pagan festival called Samhain (pronounced as soo een), wherein people would dress up as saints and visit homes to collect trick or treat. Samhain is an Irish-Celtic festival, which means 'end of summer' and was considered a time of reflection and a festival to remember the dead.
In Ireland, colcannon - a traditional Irish dish made of mashed potatoes with cabbage or kale, apple cake, barmbrack - a sweet Irish bread stuffed with sultanas (made from dried green seedless grapes) or raisins are popularly cooked during this time.
The tradition of carved pumpkins or jack-o-lanterns as popularly called, travelled with Irish immigrants to America and with time, it became a tradition to cook fall food. A season to welcome winters, appreciate warm meals and cook dishes from the seasonal pumpkin harvest.
Just in time for Halloween, Gulf News Food has 3 classic recipes to try for the night of fright:
1. Roasted Pumpkin Soup
Preparation time - 10 minutes
Cooking time - 45 minutes
Servings - 10
3 kgs butternut pumpkin
2 red onion, diced
15 gms minced garlic
100 gms chopped celery
3 l vegetable stock water (or 3 tbsp vegetable stock powder in 3 l water, optional)
3 gms dry oregano
100 ml coconut Milk
25 ml olive oil
100 gms unsalted butter
10 gms salt
3 gms black pepper
5 gms chives
First peel and cut the pumpkin into cubes, then place in the baking tray add the oregano, and olive oil for roasting at 180 degrees for 15 minutes.
In a big pot place the butter and sauté the onion, garlic, and celery.
Then add the roasted pumpkin, vegetable stock water and coconut milk.
Simmer for 15 minutes until it is cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste.
In a soup bowl place the pumpkin soup and add chopped chives for garnish.
Recipe courtesy: Chef Arman Guese, Mondoux, Dubai
2. Whole stuffed pumpkin
Preparation time - 20 minutes
Cooking time – 1.5 hours
Servings - 6
3 kgs pumpkin or one large pumpkin
500 gms beef ribs
4 tbsp oyster sauce
2 white onion, roughly chopped, optional
2 pcs bay leaves
½ cup dark soy
¼ cup brown sugar
3 tbs white vinegar
2 tbs cornstarch
6 cups water
1 tsp paprika powder
1 tsp salt and pepper or to taste
Scrape empty the pumpkin. Then set aside.
In a large nonstick pot, bring six cups of water to a boil. Then add the beef ribs and bay leaves into it. For added aroma, you can add two roughly chopped white onion and slow cook for 1.5 hours.
Once the beef ribs are tender, add in your dark soy, white vinegar, oyster sauce and brown sugar. Let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
After simmering, the beef would be left with a little stew. Add in salt, pepper, paprika powder. Stir well to combine.
Turn the heat to low. Dissolve the cornstarch with four tablespoons of water in a small bowl.
Pour this cornstarch mix into your braised beef, stir, then turn off the heat. Serve stuffed inside the whole pumpkin. Finally, enjoy your meal!
Recipe courtesy: Chef Cassy Cattingan, HeyChef
A quick recipe for leftover pumpkin seeds
You can make use of the pumpkin seeds too. While scrapping, remove the seeds and keep aside. Wash the seeds with water to clean, you can throw them in a bowl of cold water to get rid of the fibrous tissue parts. Add the seeds in a pot full of boiling salted water for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse the seeds.
Dry the seeds. You can keep them in the sunlight for 1 to 2 hours or in the oven on warm for 2 to 3 hours. The drier the seeds are, the better they will roast. Heat a pan and dry roast for 15 to 20 minutes. Season with paprika, black pepper or any other herbs and spices of your choice.
3. Halloween candy
Preparation time - 5 minutes
Cooking time – 10 minutes
Makes 10 to 12 candies
500 gms sugar
150 gms liquid glucose
150 gms water
A mix of colours of choice
A flavour of choice
1. Put sugar, glucose and water together in sauce pan and boil until temperature reaches 160 degrees celsius or for about 7 to 8 minutes over a medium flame. Add food colour and flavour of your choice at this point.
Note: Be sure to buy some silicon moulds to have the shape of the lollipop. You can also use a muffin mould if you have that handy and be ready for a candy treat that looks like muffin.
2. When the mix is hot enough, turn off the heat and dip the sauce pan inside a container filled with water to start bringing down the temperature.
3. Pour the mix into the mould and place lollipop sticks in the middle.
4. Leave it for 30 minutes to set.
Recipe courtesy: Chef David Croiser
Do you have a favourite Halloween recipe to share? Tell us about it at email@example.com