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 think that gourds/pumpkins are of American origin. But paleontologists are of opinion that this non-perishable species, just as the coconut, floated over the ocean from Afrika to America in prehistoric times. Pollen of the bottle gourd (cucurbita lagenaria siceraria) for example are found in the grave of the Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II (1200 BC). After patiently scraping the skin was used as a bottle according to old texts from  Syria (Ugarit 1300 BC). This still happens in the Middle East. And in a recently translated Syriac cookbook (1250 A.D.) several recipes for bottle gourd are found.

However, as a matter of fact 7000 year old residues of the species are excavated in Mexico. So if the paleontologists are right this fruit must have discovered America very long before Columbus!

Here al- qar’a bi-hummus, a modern Middle Eastern application of the young American pumpkin hybridization ‘butternut squash’ (cucurbita moschata). We human beings keep going on with what goes down well. Everywhere!

  • Wash the squash, halve lengthwise, scrape away seeds and threads. Wrap in microwave cling film and put in a dish, the round side down. Cook under highest power for 8 minutes. Leave to stand for 5 minutes (or bake unwrapped with the cut side down in an oven at 200˚C/400˚F/gas 6 for half an hour).
  • Mix the tahini with lime juice, garlic and 1 tablespoon parsley. Add water to obtain an nice sauce. Season with salt to taste. Put into a sauce boat.
  • Sauté the onion rings in the oil. Add the drained chickpeas, keep warm.
  • Hollow out the squash halves with a melon scooper. Add those carvings to the onion and chick peas, warm through. Ladle into the skins. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and the rest of the parsley. Serve with the pitta bread, the sauce, the left-over filling and some extra pomegranate seeds.

Wine: Rosé d’Anjou.


Menu suggestion:

  • First course: Spinach salad (salatet al-sbanegh). Mix 200 g washed and coarsely cut spinach with 1 tablespoon coarsely cut scallion, tomato cubes, olive oil, 2 teaspoons ground allspice, salt. Put this into two pitta breads.
  • Dessert: fresh figs.


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