Sweet Smelling Pumpkin Rice
- Rice bran oil 2 Tbsp
- Shallot 1 tsp
- Garlic 1 tsp
- Pumpkin 350g peeled, cut into cubes
- Dried shiitake mushroom 12, soaked to soften, cut into cubes
- White rice 1.5 cups washed, drained (1 cup=250ml)
- Cashew nut 150g, roasted
- Salt to taste
- Ground white pepper to taste
- Water or Pumpkin soup 3 cups (750ml)
- Red chili
01 In a nonstick pan, heat oil and stir-fry cashew nuts over medium heat until golden brown, remove from pan and set aside.
02 Heat the remaining oil and stir-fry shallot and garlic until fragrant. Add pumpkin and mushroom and continue to stir-fry for a minute. Add rice and stir-fry until grains are dry and separate. Season with salt and pepper.
03 Transfer all ingredients (except cashew nuts) to a rice cooker. Add pumpkin soup or water and cook.
04 Return the cashew nuts to the rice dish. Garnish with red chili and parsley and serve hot.
The Rice Story
One of my friends once cooked me pumpkin rice that she learned from her grandmother. Her grandmother’s signature dish used fresh pumpkin, dried Shiitake mushroom, fatty pork and dried shrimp as the main ingredients. Fatty pork is not a good idea for people who have to limit their fat intake, and dried shrimp has lots of sodium. I decided to give up these two ingredients when cooking the pumpkin rice.
How to enhance the flavour of the rice without fatty pork and dried shrimp? Here is my solution: using pumpkin soup. To simplify the cooking process, I only use four simple, fresh ingredients: Japanese pumpkin, pearl corn, red dates and Goji berries. All these ingredients are directly added to a pot filled with water and boiled and simmered on low heat for 2-2.5 hours. Instead of using plain water to cook the rice, I use this delicious soup.
Keeping flavourful vegetable stock on hand in the freezer is helpful. I spend significant amounts of time cooking a large pot of vegetable stock on most weekends, and it makes cooking on weekdays much easier, especially when different responsibilities are competing for my time.
Pumpkin flesh is loaded with beta-carotene, which is then converted to vitamin A in our bodies. The studies showed that a daily diet rich in foods containing beta-carotene might reduce the risk of diseases such as heart disease while protecting our eyes, skin as well as immune system.
Pumpkin seeds offer minerals such as iron, zinc, magnesium and protein, etc. Occasionally, I clean off the slimy string from the pumpkin seed, wash and drain the seeds, put them in the oven and toast them until crisp. I usually cut dried fig in half and add a small spoonful of pumpkin seeds and a piece of walnut in it. Then, we get to enjoy the nutritious afternoon snack which is rich in protein, dietary fibre, and minerals.
Approximate Nutritional Analysis Per serving
- Total fat
- Saturated fat
- Dietary fibre