I met the very talented Indian chef Vicky Ratnani when I visited his restaurant, Aurus, in Juhu, Mumbai. A frequent guest on Indian TV, chef also hosts some really fun shows of his own on NDTV: Do it sweet and Gourmet Central.

He was telling me about his wonderful recipes and one in particular peeked my interest: Roasted pumpkin with yogurt. His secret ingredient is hing or asafetida. If you dont have it, use dried garlic. Not the same but similar.

Hing Roasted Pumpkin

Ingredients

1 – 1/2  pound butternut squash/pumpkin

Marinade for the pumpkin:

1 sprig thyme

1 tsp grain mustard

2 tbsp olive oil

½ tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp brown sugar

Salt to taste

1/3 tsp cinnamon powder

½ tsp white pepper

1 big pinch hing (asafoetida powder)

Yogurt Dressing

2 tbsp Greek yogurt

2 cloves roasted garlic

1 big pinch roasted cumin seed powder

2 big pinch cardamom powder

1 big pinch rock salt

1 big pinch sumac powder

4-5 leaves basil

Few sprigs of coriander

½ tbsp olive oil

A few sprigs of parsley

Method

Cut the unpeeled pumpkin in quarters.

Blend thyme, mustard, olive oil, smoked paprika, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon powder, white pepper and hing in a mixer, to form a nice thick marinade.

In a baking tray, place the wedges of pumpkin and pour the marinade all over and massage it.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 F. Cook until the pumpkin is soft and cooked through.

Rest the pumpkin until it is cool enough to handle for peeling and slicing.

Peel and slice the pumpkin, arrange on a plate or tray.

Mix all the ingredients for the yogurt dressing in a blender.

Pour the dressing over the pumpkin and serve. (Optional garnish: pomegranate seeds.)

For the roasted garlic

Season a whole pod of garlic with a pinch of salt and olive oil.

Wrap in foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350 F.

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