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Ingredient of the week: Pumpkin

Food By Wambui Kuria
Many African mothers feed their babies on pumpkin (Photo: Shutterstock)

Whether we liked it or not, our African mothers weaned us with meals of uji and then pumpkin, or ‘malenge’, in Swahili. 

ALSO READ: Ingredient of the week: Brown rice

Pumpkin is classified as a fruit because it is developed from the flowering part of a pumpkin vine and contains seeds but in the culinary world, it is referred to as a vegetable because it is more savoury than sweet. 

Pumpkins provide essential nutrients like potassium, Vitamin C, beta carotene (which the body converts to Vitamin A), Vitamin E and antioxidants. These nutrients provide protection against asthma and heart disease, decrease risk of age-related muscular degeneration and protect against age-related eye problems. 

Pumpkin soup is easy to make and can be served with bread (Photo: Shutterstock)

Pumpkins can be cooked and prepared in very many ways. Cook them in a stew, make a soup, grill or bake them, even bake cakes, cookies, bread and more.

Pumpkin soup recipe: Peel, de-seed pumpkin, chop into pieces, boil until tender. In a different cooking pot, fry onion, fry chopped pumpkin, add salt, pepper and cinnamon powder. Allow to heat through, add cooking cream, cook for about five minutes or until boiled. Leave to cool, blend then serve with bread. 

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