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Libyan Spicy Pumpkin Dip

This spicy Sephardi dip from a Libyan-Jewish restaurant in Jaffa can be stored for at least a week in the refrigerator. Serve it with chunks of bread or raw vegetables to dip into it.


Serves 6–8

3–4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
5–8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 ½ pounds pumpkin, peeled and diced
1–2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
¼–½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼–½ teaspoon curry powder
3 ounces chopped canned tomatoes or diced fresh tomatoes and 1–2 tablespoons tomato purée (paste)
½ –1 red jalapeño or serrano chilli, chopped, or cayenne pepper, to taste
Pinch of sugar, if necessary
Juice of 1⁄2 lemon, or to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, to garnish

1) Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onion and half the garlic and fry until softened. Add the pumpkin, then cover and cook for about 10 minutes, or until half-tender.

2) Add the spices to the pan and cook for 1–2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, chilli, sugar and salt and cook over a medium-high heat until the liquid has evaporated.

3) When the pumpkin is tender, mash to a coarse purée. Add the remaining garlic and taste for seasoning, then stir in the lemon juice to taste. Serve at room temperature, sprinkled with the chopped fresh coriander.

Recipe reprinted with permission from “Jewish Festival Food: Eating for Special Occasions” (Lorenz Books) by Marlena Spieler.




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