Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Indian Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Recently I provided a recipe yielding just two chocolate chip cookies, to allow some snacking within limits (when you can't trust yourself to provide them). But mostly, my dietary indulgences don't involve cookies. They involve salty snacks. And lots of them. Specifically, pumpkin seeds.

I can eat pumpkin seeds until I explode (and often have). So why did I think it was a good idea to make them even more delicious? Scratch that. This is a brilliant idea. Pumpkin seeds are roasted along with a smattering of Indian spices, like a much fresher, lively version of a Bombay hot mix. The spices play off of the seeds' deep roasty flavor, and they're savory and crunchy and taste like the best Halloween ever.

And yes, I know most of you are far, far ahead of me in your autumnal preparations, and have already carved your pumpkins. But for those who are as late to the game as I am (or, say, have carved your pumpkins but left the seeds and guts in the fridge because yeah you're going to do something with them sometime really really soon), this is for you. Happy Halloween!

Indian Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

adapted from the amazing Ruchikala, with just a bit of tweaking because I like a pre-boil and longer roast

seeds from a good-sized pumpkin, rinsed free of pumpkin guts (~1 cup)
1 hefty tablespoon high-heat oil (coconut is especially nice)
3-6 dried red chilies (depending upon your taste for heat)
3/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
15 curry leaves (available at Indian grocery stores — I buy em up, and keep them in the freezer)
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
hefty pinch asafoetida (or a clove of finely minced garlic)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Place the pumpkin seeds in a pot of water, and salt generously. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat until it's just high enough to maintain a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes.

While the seeds are simmering, preheat your oven to 400° Fahrenheit, and gather your spices — place the chilies, mustard seeds, and fennel seeds in one small dish, the curry leaves, turmeric, and asafoetida in another, and the coriander, cumin and salt in a third. Then you're ready!

When the seeds have finished simmering, pour them out into a colander to drain. Heat an oven-proof skillet over a medium-high heat. When hot, add the oil, and the first dish with the chilies, mustard seeds and fennel seeds. Cook until the mustard seeds sputter and pop — this should just take a minute or two, and you will need a lid at the read to keep them from popping right out of the pan!

After the seeds have popped, dump in your second dish, with the curry leaves, turmeric, and asafoetida (or garlic). Stir to let the spices all hit the hot oil and toast, then dump in the pumpkin seeds. Stir to coat the pumpkin seeds with the spice mixture. Cook for 1-2 more minutes, then dump in the remaining spice dish (coriander, cumin and salt). Turn off the heat, and transfer the skillet to the oven (if you don't have an oven-proof skillet, you can just pour them out onto a rimmed cookie sheet instead).

Roast, stirring occasionally, until the seeds are crisp and lightly browned, ~10—20 minutes (depending upon your skillet, seeds, personal taste, etc). Let cool, then pour into a dish and serve.


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