Janny de Moor Janny de Moor

Butternut squash with chick peas


Serves two:


  • 1 butternut squash, about 1 kg
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion in rings
  • can chick peas (400 g)
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds


To serve:

  • roast pitta bread

Many culinary writers believe that gourds/pumpkins are of American origin. But palaeontologists think that this sustainable species, just as the coconut, has floated from Africa across the ocean to America a long time ago. For example, pollen from the bottle gourd (cucurbita lagenaria siceraria) has been found in the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II (1200 BC). After patient scraping, the peel was used as a bottle, according to ancient texts from Syria (Ugarit 1300 BC). This type of cheap container is still used in the Middle East. A recently translated Syrian cookbook dating from the Middle Ages (c. 1250 CE) already contains several recipes for bottle gourd.

However, 7.000-year-old remains of the species have since been excavated in Mexico. So if the paleontologists are right, this fruit must have discovered America an extraordinarily long time before Columbus!

Here al-qar’a bi-hummus, a modern Middle Eastern application of the young American pumpkin cross ‘butternut squash’ (cucurbita moschata). Because we humans have never wasted what tastes good. Wherever it came from. And especially not when it also looks like a vessel filled with precious stones from the Aladdin’s cave

  • Wash the pumpkin, cut it in half lengthwise, scrape out seeds and threads. Wrap in microwave foil and place on the round side in a dish, cook for 8 minutes on the highest power, let it stand for 5 minutes (or bake on the cut surface for half an hour in an oven at 200˚ C, not wrapped).
  • Mix the sesame paste with lime juice, garlic and 1 tablespoon of parsley. Add enough water to create a pleasant sauce. Season with salt. Transfer to a sauce bowl.
  • Sauté the onion rings in the oil. Add the drained chickpeas.
  • Hollow out the pumpkin halves with a melon spoon. Warm the trimmings with chickpeas and onion, spoon into the skins. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and the remaining parsley.
  • Serve with the pita bread. Separately on the table: the remaining filling, some pomegranate seeds and the sauce.  Wine: Rosé Pays d’Oc.


Menu suggestion:

  • Starter: Spinach salad (salatet al-sbanegh). Mix 200 g washed spinach, roughly chopped, with 1 tablespoon roughly chopped spring onion, diced tomatoes, olive oil, 1 teaspoon ground allspice, salt. Put into two opened pita breads.
  • Dessert: Fresh figs.

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