Pumpkin is such a rich and robust vegetable that it can take on lots of intense flavours and still shine. The spicy dressing, spiked with some sesame oil and a little more rice wine vinegar, balances the sweetness of the pumpkin, and the cashews and sesame seeds add crunch and nutty depth to the dish. If you're sensitive to heat you may want to omit the fried chillies as the dressing already has plenty of punch. Gochujang is a Korean condiment made from chilli, rice and fermented soybeans.
half kent pumpkin, deseeded
light oil (eg, rice bran oil) for shallow frying (optional)
2 green chillies, seeds in, cut in thick rounds (optional)
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 batch gochujang chilli dressing (see recipe here)
4 spring onions, finely sliced
1. Preheat your oven to 160C fan-forced or 180C conventional.
2. Spread the cashews out on a baking tray and roast until fragrant and golden, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Increase the oven temperature to 180C fan-forced or 200C conventional.
3. Cut the pumpkin into wedges (skin on) two to three centimetres thick, coat with oil, season and bake flat on a lined baking tray for 35 to 40 minutes - it is best to cook the pumpkin for a relatively long time so that it dehydrates and concentrates.
4. Heat a few centimetres of oil in a small pot and fry the chilli rounds (if using) briefly until they start to take on a little colour. Drain on paper towel.
5. In a small, dry frying pan, toast the sesame seeds over a low to medium flame until fragrant and golden. Toss the sesame seeds and cashews with a little oil.
6. Mix the rice wine vinegar and sesame oil with your gochujang dressing.
7. Arrange the cooked pumpkin on your serving plate and generously spoon over the dressing. Scatter over the cashews and sesame seeds, top with the spring onions and chillies (if using) and serve with any remaining dressing on the side.
Drink India pale ale
Also try: Karen Martini's cos and nashi salad with gochujang dressing, cashews and sesame.