Ray’s Pumpkin Choka

As a child we had this as a breakfast dish served with sada roti (sort of a pita bread). We called this Pumpkin Choka or Pumpkin Talkari, (mainly by Hindu homes in Trinidad) and this is also served as a side dish in Trinidad Indian curry lunches and dinners.

Go to Ray’s Cafe in Loughborough Junction for beautiful home-cooked Trinidadian food Studio5 , 209A Coldhabour lane, SW9 8RU. We’ll have one of our shared produce cooking sessions here in October – a chance for local people to bring their produce, chop, cook and eat together! Watch the website…

What you will need:
900grams pumpkin (peeled and cubed into 1 inch pieces) I used Caribbean
pumpkin (Calabaza)
1 medium onion (peeled cut into 4 and sliced)
1/4 hot pepper or 1 teaspoon pepper flakes, (optional)
4 cloves garlic chopped fine or crushed
1 teaspoon salt or salt to your taste
1-2 tablespoon golden brown sugar
6 tablespoon of vegetable oil

1. Peel, cube and wash the pumpkin and drain off the excess water.
2. In a deep pan, heat the oil on medium heat and add sliced onion and garlic
cook until onions are soft
3. Add the cubed pumpkin, it will seem like a lot, but it will cook down.
4. Next add the salt and pepper , stir / cover and allow to simmer (low heat –
covered) for about 20 minutes or until the pieces are tender and start to melt.
5. You will notice that it will spring its natural juices, if needed add a little
water( few table spoon) to allow the pumpkin to become soft the key at the
end to ensure all of this is burnt off.
6. Use the back of the cooking spoon to gently crush any of the pieces that may
still have the cubes of pumpkin.
7. Taste and adjust your salt and sugar to your taste The idea is to get a smooth
consistency at the end.

This will serve 4-6 as a side dish served with pita bread or roti
One tip you can also add 1 tablespoon of hot curry powder for flavour (as you can
never be sure of the taste of the pumpkin we get in the UK )

We’ll have fabulous Lambeth pumpkin, I’m sure – Fiona

You can also use squash – Rouge Vif d’Etampes, maybe? See our pumpkin variety list…

The masala mix that Ray sources from India for his ‘curry powder’. He roasts the spices and grinds them. See Indian bayleaf, black cardamom, cinnamon bark, star anise, coriander, cumin, black pepper and cloves. Awesome!

Ray also does artistic direction for Carnivals, making spectacular costumes and floats. Sunshine International Arts (S.i.A).C.A.F.E Carnival Arts Food Empowerment

see the Facebook page