Pumpkin falafel -The Asian Age


*   1 small field pumpkin, acorn squash, or red kurl squash, cut in pieces and roasted (500g)

*    Just over 1 cup (125 g) chickpea flour (aka gram flour) or chestnut flour

*   2 garlic cloves, crushed

*    Zest and juice of ½ lemon

*    2-3 tablespoons extra virgin coconut or olive oil

*    2 tablespoons chopped spring onions

*   2 teaspoons ground cumin

*    Black sesame seeds, to garnish


Step 1: Preheat the oven to 340°F (170°C). This recipe isn't a science. You're aiming for the falafel to be one-quarter chickpea or chestnut flour. It's really that simple, so use whatever amount of pumpkin you have and adjust the recipe as appropriate. Roasting pumpkin is a cinch too-no peeling necessary. Just make sure to avoid the monstrous Cinderella ones.

Start by cautiously hacking the side of the pumpkin. Chop this flesh into matchbox-size pieces and continue to work your way around the pumpkin. The hardest part is that first slice. Tumble the pieces into a roasting tray with a good splash of coconut or olive oil. Cover with foil. Roast for 45-60 minutes, until sweet and tender. Pumpkin is better overcooked rather than undercooked.

Step 2: Remove the tray of pumpkin and let the pieces cool completely before handling. If you've roasted more than you need, count yourself lucky. Whiz any leftover pieces with coconut milk, sautéed onions, and a pinch of curry powder to make soup. Or freeze a batch for your next falafel craving.

Step 3: Raise the oven temperature to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking tray with parchment paper or grease with a lick of olive oil. Using clean hands, mash together all the falafel ingredients except the black sesame seeds. Put the falafel mix in the freezer for 15-30 minutes to firm up. Mould the chilled mixture into falafels and place on the lined baking tray.

I find an ice cream scoop is the best way to shape falafel. If you use teaspoons and patience, you'll double the portions and halve the baking time. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds and cook in the oven for 20-45 minutes, depending on their size.