Festive Holiday Sugar Pumpkin Stuffed with Cauliflower Masala
This gorgeous recipe is as much a treat for the eye as it is for the palate, and your taste buds will not be disappointed! The sweetness of this little sugar pumpkin, or pumpkin pie pumpkin, perfectly compliments the savory flavors of India, and its presentation makes it almost too beautiful to eat. Make this recipe a centerpiece to delight the guests at your holiday table. It may even tempt them to give this plant-based lifestyle another look!
Carefully cut the top of pumpkin about two inches from the stem to form a cap. Remove the top and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. I like to use a measuring spoon because it has a slightly sharper edge.
Rub the exterior of the pumpkin with olive oil. Place cut-side down on a parchment covered baking sheet, setting the top of the pumpkin beside it, stem-side up. Alternatively, you can place the pumpkin with the lid on directly on the lined baking sheet.
Transfer to a 300º preheated oven and cook for 45 minutes to an hour. The timing depends on the size of your pumpkin. Try not to cook it so long that it starts to collapse. That may happen at the 45-minute point. If you pierce the flesh with a fork, from the inside of the pumpkin, and it is fork tender, take it out and let it cool a little before stuffing. If the bottom has collapsed a little, use a serving spoon to gently press it back into shape. Allow to cool. The hot masala will reheat the pumpkin when you stuff it.
When the pumpkin is finished roasting, remove from oven. Spoon all of the rice onto a serving plate. With a serving spoon, create a well in the middle of the rice, a space for the pumpkin to sit in. Try to arrange the rice symmetrically around the well. Sprinkle with Methi, dried fenugreek leaves. If you can get fresh, all the better. If you can't find fenugreek leaves, decorate with chopped cilantro or parsley.
Gently nestle the pumpkin in the middle of the rice. Spoon the cauliflower masala into the pumpkin, mounding it over the top, carefully arranging the vegetables, so they peak out attractively underneath the lid of the pumpkin. Note that the masala sauce should remain below the opening of the pumpkin so that it doesn't spill over the edge.