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Roasted pumpkin with khmeli-suneli

Core to Georgian cuisine is khmeli-suneli, an aromatic spice blend that brings beautiful aromas and flavour to any dish it is added to. It can be sprinkled over salads, or added to soups and stews, and finally rubbed onto grilled meats or vegetables as a seasoning. Some of the distinct herbs that make up the blend are dried marigold petals, blue fenugreek and ground coriander seeds.

Pumpkins are considered to be fillers in stews, winter vegetables that are to be usually shunned till there is very little else in the market. However, I love pumpkins in all their varieties. They are super healthy, nutritious and very tasty. I love to roast them and, like in this recipe, serve them as an appetizer. It surprises my guests who now have more of an appreciation for the vegetable. However, this dish also makes for a lovely side dish.

Here it works beautifully with roasted pumpkin. The spice adds a lovely aroma and subtle flavours to the caramelized sugars in the pumpkin. I served it with spicy Horseradish cream to add some pop to the dish.

For more recipes by Zafar, click here.


1 small pumpkin, peeled and cut into crescents that will stand

1 tablespoon khmeli-suneli

Salt, to taste, preferably Georgian spiced salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375° F.

Mix the khmeli-suneli, salt and olive oil well. Toss the pumpkin crescents well in the oil coating them.

Layer the pumpkin crescents on a lined baking sheet drizzling any leftover oil over them. Bake for 25-30 minutes till the pumpkins are soft and charred in spots.

Serve while still hot with a dip like Horseradish cream.

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