The natural thing to eat for the first night of Hannukah, of course! Ever since I ate salt-and-pepper pumpkin at The Ark, my family’s favorite Chinese restaurant, I’ve been determined to make it again at home, so I staked a claim on the final butternut squash from our CSA for this noble purpose. Unfortunately, a recipe proved even more elusive than the squash itself, and when I finally found one, it called for deep-frying and then stir-frying the pumpkin. I should have known that the texture and taste I so adored involved a lake of oil. I debated incorporating the squash into a rice porridge, another Chinese dish I adore, but ultimately ended up drawing on instructions for salt-and-pepper shrimp and the oven. Not quite the same, of course. I guess I’ll just have to go back to The Ark for this particular delicacy, but in the meantime, I have another delicious dish to enjoy.
I scooped the squash out of the pan, added just a dash more of oil, and quickly fried up some cabbage with ginger, tamari, and a sprinkle of seasame seeds. Meanwhile, I boiled a cup or so of raw peanuts that have been sitting dejectedly in the back of the cabinet for a year. They simmered for about 45 minutes, until they just started getting tender. With a splash of soy-sauce, they added a welcome crunch to the meal. I also scrambled a few eggs for a little extra protein.
After several hours and using half the pots and pans and serving platters in the house, we devoured the whole feast in a matter of minutes. Look forward to doing it again soon!
1 butternut squash
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 cayenne peppers (or other chilies), chopped
Salt and pepper
Slice open squash, scoop out seeds, and cube. Coat in oil and roast at 450ºF for about 20-30 minutes, until tender and beginning to brown. Sauté garlic and peppers for a inute over low heat, then add squash pieces, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and stir-fry over medium heat for a few more minutes, until fragrant and melded. Enjoy!