Spicy pumpkin with dried apricot


A cooking book is really good if inspires you so much that you take your cooking apron and start to cook immediately. Mostly then the food put on your plate is not exactly the same as it is in the cooking book, inspite of this fact the bays belongs to the author of the book. Plenty by Yotam Ottoleghi is such an inspiring cooking book which shows vegetable kitchen from another side. The vegetarianism is not a merit here, isn't even something interesting thing. Maybe because he is not a vegeterain, but simply cooks fantastically gripping combinations from colourful vegetables. So the vegetarian receipts are firstly deliciously exciting and secondly healthy. Because they are. Prime ingredients and well-reasoned pairing.

We prepared pumpkin couscous included in the book (The ultimate winter couscous) with barley. And we modified some momentums in the preparation process, however the spirit of the food remained " Ottoleghi style"....fortunately.

Spicy pumpkin with dried apricot and barley

(Ingredients serves four)

  • 500 g pumpkin, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 200 g carrot, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 150 g turnip, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 big onion
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 star anise
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1/4 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 chili, sliced
  • 1 tsp chili, crushed
  • 1 handful dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 preserved lemon, finely chopped
  • oil
  • salt
  • 1 big brunch of parsley or coriander leaves
  • 250 g barley
  1. Prepare all ingredients: Boil barley in water (5 parts water to 1 part barley). It is ready appr.15 min. and can be drained.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables: fry the onions on appr.100 ml oil. for some minutes. Add the carrot and the turnip.
  3. Add the spices to the vegetables: firstly the ginger and then all the others. Simmer under cover for 10-15 min. in order to get the vegetables softened and the sweetish taste of the root vegetables evolved.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a wok , pour 100 ml oil into it and - heat it further 1-2 minutes- then add the pumpkin and fry on high heat for some minute, then simmer under cover until it is softened - for. approx. 10 min.
  5. Stir the pumpkin into the other vegetables. Add the chopped apricots and lemon. Boil.
  6. Add salt and chilli to taste.
  7. Stir the barley - half part barley to half part vegetables.
  8. Before serving scatter the chopped parsley or coriander leaves over the top.

Effects according to 5 Elements

The pumpkin has an effect on Spleen and Pancreas. It warms the center of the body. It improves the flow of Qi in the body. It mellows in autumn, so we can reach it in its naturest form in this period. When the cold days arrive the warming and freshening effect of the pumpkin is very beneficent. Although, the root vegetables are available all the year, but in winter we are more dependent on eating them, as in natural circumstances mostly they keep good for a long time. This shows that these vegetables are full of Jing, so they are very rich foods and store their mineral content for a long time. The barley can be associated with the Earth Element from 5 changing phases. It effects accordingly on the organs belonging to the Earth Element: strengthens the Spleen and the Pancreas and balances the Stomach. Because of the last impact, it positively effects on the nerves and the Bile. Another brilliant feature of barley that it is easy to digest, so it is worth serving it to convalescent people as it help them recover. Furthermore, it helps in treating of oedema and cancer. Thanks for the health caring feature of the barley, it was regularly used in traditional Hungarian cuisine. Nowadays, in many cases the rice took the place of barley - that is why a lot of people don't even know it. Although in Hungary even a few decades ago the stuffing for cabbage and paprika was prepared with barley - at the same place now mostly rice is used for these foods.