One hundred ways…

Well, maybe not one hundred but we can cook pumpkin in so many ways. The Chinese will use it to make kim kua koi (steamed pumpkin cake), the same way they make or koi (steamed yam cake) and the Malays have their bingka labu and in western cuisine, there are the pumpkin soup or baked pumpkin served at the side.

Well, the other day, I bought a pumpkin from my regular stall at Bandong here…


…for only RM2.50. My missus said that it was cheaper than at the market or the elsewhere in town.

The people from the kampong (village) do grow some vegetables and stuff in their garden and they may bring them to this stall for sale – thus, you can be assured that they are really very fresh. As a matter of fact, I bought their sweet corn not too long ago and because they were freshly-harvested, the corn was extra sweet and extra nice.

Anyway, going back to the pumpkin, the lady at the stall asked me how I would usually cook it and I told her, “Goreng dengan sambal udang kering (fried with dried prawn sambal).” She was so surprised to hear that and I explained to her that we would fry it the same way we would fry midin or paku (wild jungle fern) or kangkong (water spinach). Come to think of it, at the Malay food stall in the same vicinity around noon, they would either cook it with a bit of cangkuk manis, masak lemak style with santan (coconut milk) or sayur rebus style with ikan bilis (dried anchovies), belacan (dried prawn paste) and chilies.

Well, to fry it with sambal udang kering, you will need to cut the pumpkin into bite-size chunks like this…

Pumpkin - cut

…and you will need these ingredients to make the sambal

Ingredients for sambal

Soak the dried prawns to soften them and in the meantime, peel the shallots and garlic and cut them into thin slices. Do the same with the chillies…and pound all of them together with the cube of belacan. Put that to one side and after that, pound the dried prawns.

Heat a bit of oil in the wok and throw in all the pounded ingredients except the dried prawns. Stir until fragrant and nicely-browned before adding the pounded dried prawns. Mix thoroughly and keep on stirring till the sambal is ready – golden brown and the nice aroma would fill the whole house…

Sambal udang kering

Of course, you’re not supposed to take the sambal out of the wok – I just did that so that I could take a photograph of it to include in this post. LOL!!! Normally, we would throw in the pumpkin at this stage and add a bit of water to let it simmer and cook…and add a bit of salt and msg if so desired according to taste but that day, I did it a bit differently so that the pumpkin would not end up overcooked and mushy and the sambal wet and soggy.

I boiled the pumpkin first until it was cooked and then I drained it and added cold water to it to stop the cooking process. To check whether the pumpkin is cooked or not, just poke it with a toothpick – if it slides in and slides out easily (Hey! I’m talking about the toothpick here lah! Tsk! Tsk! Muahahahahaha!!!), it means that the pumpkin is cooked.

Once the sambal was ready, I threw in the cooked pumpkin and mixed everything thoroughly before dishing it out and serving it…

Labu masak sambal

Was it good?

Well, I would say it was…and the sambal went really well with the rice. Yummmm!!!!