Mayan Roasted Tomato & Pumpkin Dip
Before us Mediterranean, Middle-Eastern and even Northern Europe inhabitants claimed the tomato as one of the fruits defining our food cultures, this divine berry was a staple of the Mayan diet. Its ancient Mayan name is P’ak. In Nahuatl cultures ingesting the seeds of the tomato berry was considered a divine blessing – its name closer to its worldwide term nowadays is ‘tomatl’. This dip or as some of guests called it ‘tomato and nut butter’ hails from the olden times of South American food heritage. My recipe was inspired by the infamous Diane Kennedy, whose books on Mexican cuisine are a precious ethnography of the land’s food culture. You can use raw, un-peeled pumpkin seeds for one third of the quantity of pumpkin seeds used here. If you do be careful to NOT use salted ones and you might need to increase the water quantity used. I prefer to play safe and to use organic peeled and home roasted seeds.
(yields approx. 500g dip)
- 350g ripe tomatoes
- 160g pumpkin seeds
- Half a habanero or Hungarian hotwax or jalapeño chilli pepper (optional)
- 65-85ml water
- 15g fresh coriander leaves finely chopped
- ½- 1tsp salt
- 2 pinches of smoked or plain salt
- Juice of half a lime
- Handful of chives, roughly chopped or some parsley
- Place the washed & dried tomatoes a non-stick pan with a couple of pinches of salt. Preferably use ripe cherry or small plum tomatoes whole. Other tomatoes should be sliced in half.
- Roast the tomatoes on high heat for the first five minutes and then lower to medium heat to cook until soft in the middle, usually for another five minutes.
- Whilst the tomatoes roast, place the pumpkin seeds in another non-stick pan and toast for a few minutes until they start popping. Make sure you regularly shake the pan to avoid burn.
- Set aside the pumpkin seeds to cool down (5 minutes).
- Whilst the pumpkins are cooling down dry toast the chilli pepper until it browns in spots and softens.
- Using a coffee or spice grinder blend the toasted pumpkins to a fine meal.
- In a food processor place the tomatoes, chilli (if using), the ½ tsp of salt, the coriander and some water. Blend until well mixed.
- Transfer the pumpkin meal and tomato mix into a bowl, add the lime and mix well. You can also mix in the food processor if big enough.
- The mixture should resemble a mayonnaise dip in consistency or a thin hummus.
- If you don’t mind a chunkier dip, you can make the dip in a large stone pestle and mortar. Starting with the grinding of the seeds, then the tomato and pepper and then the other ingredients.
- Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Mix in the lime juice and garnish with the chives.
- Serve with nachos as a starter or beer snack.
As a person who grew up in Greece I get asked for Moussaka recipes all the time. Moussaká is really as diverse as each household. Go to http://www.instagram.com/lias_kitchen to read what differentiates Moussaká from other bakes!
In this post we want to demystify one of the most popular dishes of modern Greek cooking. My usual béchamel sauce is one where milk is flavoured with mace or nutmeg in advance and then slowly heated whilst you slowly add flour, butter and one egg. Not really a roux method but something we call Kourkoúti. But to make things simple for you we recommend you make a béchamel (or morney) sauce you know how to make and have provided a link to a BBC recipe.
In the past year I have made Moussaka with what I have. I always have uncooked lentils in my store cupboard and love using them for a vegetarian, use-what-you-have version of the dish. Use 300 to 500g of minced beef if that’s what you prefer. The authentic Moussaka in my mum’s kitchen uses two layers of aubergine but potato is just fine particularly when your vegetable box has too many potatoes you need to use up.
Enjoy our delicious recipe below!
⁃ 3/4 to 1 cup or mug uncooked lentils (brown or green or black)
⁃ 1 onion, chopped
⁃ 3 allspice berries, crushed (optional)
⁃ 1/2 cup white wine
⁃ 3 to 4 garlic cloves, finely shopped
⁃ 1 tin chopped tomatoes
⁃ 500ml hot water (2cups)
⁃ 30g chopped parsley
⁃ Bay leaf (optional)
⁃ 1 egg beaten
⁃ 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
⁃ 250g crumbled or greater goat or ewe’s cheese such as feta, Abergavenny goat, manchego, pecorino or graviera.
⁃ 1 béchamel portion of your choice
⁃ Mace + bay leaf or just grated nutmeg to flavour
⁃ Half kg potatoes or as many it takes to fill a medium baking tray, sliced in circles of 1.5 to 2cm thickness
⁃ Mix of vegetable and olive oil to shallow fry
1. Soak the lentils for an hour or two (optional).
2. Start with making the lentil filling.
3. Fry the onion in 2tbsp. Olive oil with a pinch of salt for 5min.
4. Add the drained lentils, a pinch of pepper and the crashed allspice berries and fry for a couple of minutes.
5. Add the wine, stir and follow with the tinned tomatoes & hot water.
6. Add another couple of pinches of salt, the bay leaf (if using) and the chopped parsley.
7. Cover and simmer for 30.
8. Whilst the sauce is simmering make a béchamel portion of your choice and fry the potatoes till mostly cooked.
9. Use 2-3 Tbsp. Vegetable oil and 2 Tbsp. Olive oil to fry the potatoes.
10. Make sure to cool down the lentil sauce before adding the beaten egg, cheese or mix of cheeses your choice and breadcrumbs. Taste and season if necessary.
11. In a medium baking tray at least 10cm deep, layer the potatoes, the lentil sauce smoothed across the surface and then the bechamel sauce.
12. If you want sprinkle with some more breadcrumbs and cheese.
13. Bake in an 170 Celsius degree fan oven for 45 min or until golden.