Flash in the Pan: Sweet Curry-Cinnamon Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
[Sometimes, you just want a dish that's quick and easy--no fuss. I've decided to offer a mini-post every once in a while, for a dish that comes together incredibly quickly or else is so simple to make that no recipe is required. Here's today's "Flash in the Pan." (For other FitP recipes, see "Categories" at right).]
By most people’s standards, I was a
tomboy nerd goody two shoes pretty good kid growning up. (Well, there was that one time my college room mate and I put laundry soap in the school fountain. . . but we were unduly influenced by every coming-of-age movie from the previous four decades, so it wasn’t really our fault). Still, despite the fact that my sisters and I never did drugs, drove responsibly, and never acquired a criminal record, my dad was fond of ranting and railing about how tough it was to live with four women, being the only male in the household (technically, our dog was male, but after the vet had a go at him, he no longer really counted).
The one thing that set my dad off more than anything else was his idea of wastefulness. Why did we require seventeen tissues to remove our makeup, invariably clogging the toilet? Why couldn’t we use one, like he did? Why couldn’t we manage with just two pairs of shoes (as he did), instead of dozens, most of which we never wore? (Really, Dad, c’mon. Duh.). Why did we leave every light on the main floor blaring like a New York office tower at midnight, even though we’d left the rooms? (Frequently, I’d find myself already curled on the couch downstairs, ensconced in the green-and-rust hand-crocheted quilt my mom had made, all ready to watch my favorite show–and would cringe at the sound of my dad’s muffled cursing as he stomped overhead, striding from room to room flicking off the lights).
Given my background, it seems I’ve acquired my
parsimonious frugal thrifty economical nature quite honestly. If I can make it myself, do it myself, refurbish it myself, grow it myself or in some other way re-create it myself, I will. In my 30s, I sewed all my own clothes; even before the ACD, I cooked just about everything from scratch; when we first got The Girls, I made all their food and treats myself (a pox on my lack of time these days!), and the HH and I spent two entire weekends in our previous house painting all the walls, then adding texture with sponges, feathers, newspapers and crinkled garbage bags because I thought it was cheaper more fun than wallpaper. Basically, I stopped just short of cutting open the toothpaste tube and scraping out the dregs of toothpaste, as I’d read about in the original Tightwad Gazette (though I’m still kind of intrigued by the idea).
So when I bought my first sugar pumpkin (ever!) last week, then roasted it and cut it open to scoop out the softened flesh, my first thought was, “how can I waste these perfectly good seeds?” What I decided instead was to wash them, pick off the stringy bits (or most of them, anyway), toss them in a mixture of mild curry powder, cinnamon and stevia and roast them for a sweet take on the usual roasted pumpkin seeds. With a classic sweet-and-salty flavor profile and the added dimension of warming spices, the seeds were more reminiscent of salted caramel than spicy curry. I literally couldn’t stop eating them.
As it turns out, roasting the seeds after they’d already been baked inside the squash resulted in lighter, crispier kernels, too. (In her post yesterday, Angela suggested boiling the raw seeds before roasting them to achieve the same crispy result. To my mind, baking them in the moist cavity of the pumpkin itself accomplishes the same effect–either way, the perfect roasted seed!).
Another bonus from pumpkin seeds is their super-powered nutritional profile. Apart from delivering a great dose of zinc, good for anyone’s immunity (and particularly healthful for the male prostate gland), pumpkin seeds offer healthy oils, fiber, and anti-parasitic properties (key benefits for those of us on the anti-candida warpath).
My thrifty side loved using up all the consumable parts of the pumpkin. My healthy side loved having a snack that’s free from all the unsavory ingredients you get with most pre-packaged roasted seeds. And my gourmand side just loved eating them.
I’m linking this recipe to Amy’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.
Sweet Curry-Cinnamon Roasted Pumpkinseeds
You could actually use seeds from just about any winter squash for this recipe, though pumpkinseeds tend to have just the right size and texture for roasting and snacking. I’ve also enjoyed roasted seeds from butternut and acorn squashes, though they’re a bit smaller.
Seeds from one baked sugar pumpkin, washed well, fibers removed and drained (see instructions below)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) your favorite nut oil (I used macadamia; almond or walnut would be divine, too)
1 tsp (5 ml) mild curry powder
1 tsp (5 ml) cinnamon
1/8-1/2 tsp (..5-2.5 ml) fine sea salt, to your taste
1/16-1/8 tsp (.25-.5 ml) pure stevia powder, to your taste
Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Line a large cookie sheet or pan (large enough to hold the pumpkin) with parchment.
Bake the pumpkin, whole and untouched, in the preheated oven until it is very soft when tested with a knife, 40-60 minutes. Allow to cool completely before cutting in half and scooping out the seeds (save the flesh for other uses).
Lower the oven to 325F (170C). Place a new piece of parchment on the cookie sheet, or spray with nonstick spray.
To clean the seeds, first allow the pumpkin to cool somewhat; next, scoop the moist seeds (along with the inner strings and goo) into a fine sieve. Place under running water, then swish around with your hand until the strings and goo are dislodged and flushed through the sieve. I find that the seeds clean up fairly easily this way; I don’t worry if a tiny thread or two still clings to one or two seeds as you’ll notice in the close-up photo, above).
Place the clean seeds in a deep medium-sized bowl. Drizzle with oil, then sprinkle with remaining ingredients. Stir vigorously with a tablespoon until all the seeds are well coated with the oil-spice-stevia mixture.
Spread the seeds out on the cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake for 20-35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the seeds are dry and just beginning to brown lightly. Remove from oven and cool completely before eating (consume with the skins on for full flavor and health benefits). Makes 2-4 servings. Will keep, covered at room temperature, for up to a week (though mine have never lasted that long).
Suitable for: ACD all stages, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, nut free, vegan, low glycemic.
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© Ricki Heller, Diet, Dessert and Dogs