Moroccan Pumpkin Stew

Spark your creativity and personal power with this great recipe from the Autumn section of my recipe book The Chakra Kitchen: Feed your Body to Nourish your Spirit. 

Photography © Adrian Lawrence for CICO Books, 2015

Photography © Adrian Lawrence for CICO Books, 2015

Chakras: Root, Sacral, Solar Plexus, Brow, Crown 

I love spices for their fragrance and health benefits and this North African-influenced dish is a great way to introduce a sweetness which negates the craving for dessert. You can easily purchase ras el hanout spice blend or make your own as below. The sacral and solar plexus chakras are supported predominantly with balancing pumpkin and protein- and mineral-rich amaranth and chickpeas.

Serves 4

1 cup/200g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in water

2 tablespoons coconut or rapeseed oil

1 red onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

4 teaspoons ras el hanout

1 cup/225g amaranth

1 large sweet potato, cubed

1 pumpkin—you will need 735g/2lb cubed flesh

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup/65g raisins

1 cup/90g toasted slivered/flaked almonds

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Gently heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and garlic with the spices and sweat over a low heat for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the amaranth into pan with 2 cups/500ml of water and bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes. Take off the heat and allow any remaining water to be absorbed (I like it a bit crunchy and couscous-like in texture, hence cooking for a shorter time than some may suggest).

Drain the chickpeas. Place the chickpeas, chopped sweet potato, and pumpkin in the pan containing the onions. Add 3 cups/750ml water, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir thoroughly, then add the salt and raisins and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Season the amaranth to taste and stir in three-quarters of the almonds. Serve with the pumpkin stew, garnished with the remaining almonds.

Tip

To make your own ras el hanout spice mixture, toast 3 tablespoons cumin seeds, 2½ tablespoons coriander seeds, 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, 2½ teaspoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons black peppercorns, 1½ teaspoons ground turmeric, 1 teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon cardamom seeds, ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon cloves, and a pinch of saffron, then place in a grinder with a few dried rose petals. Store any leftover spice mixture in an airtight jar.