Throughout the Middle East, dips and pastes are eaten as part of a larger selection of mezze. Lots of them are vegetable-based, a light and healthy option compared to the often richer meat-based main courses. This dip makes a change from some of the more common ones such as hummus. The chili and spices provide a peppery heat, contrasting with the pumpkin’s sweetness. Try butternut squash, sweet potato, or beets in place of the pumpkin. The vegetables could also be roasted, then puréed, to give added depth of flavor to the finished dip.
– 1lb (450g) pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and flesh cut into 1in (2cm) cubes.
– 1 tsp caraway seeds.
– 1 tsp cumin seeds.
– 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped.
– fresh red jalapeño or serrano chili, seeded and finely chopped.
– juice of 1 lemon.
– ¼–½ cup extra virgin olive oil.
– salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Step 2: Dry-roast the caraway and cumin seeds in a small frying pan over mediumhigh heat for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Crush the toasted seeds using a pestle and mortar. Add the garlic, chili, and a pinch of salt, and work into a smooth paste. Add the spice mixture to the pumpkin along with the lemon juice. Mix, then stir in enough olive oil to make a dipping consistency. Serve either hot or cold as part of a mezze, accompanied by lots of hot pita bread