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Astar's Recipe - Vietnamese Pumpkin Dishes - 31 Oct

Astar's Recipes - Pumpkin for Halloween

Vietnamese Pumpkin Soup
This isn't a traditional Vietnamese recipe but one concocted by my friend Sue Firth. It encapsulates the wonderful flavours we experienced in Vietnam.

You will need
1 medium pumpkin
Oil for frying
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 root ends of coriander, finely chopped
5 or 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 small chilli sliced finely, plus extra for garnish
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 cup water or just enough to cover pumpkin
4 kaffir lime leaves
1 tin coconut milk
1 Tbsp fish sauce
Black pepper, grated
A handful of chopped coriander
Skin and de-seed the pumpkin, cut into cubes and either cover with a little water then microwave or slow roast until soft. Put aside and keep warm.
Heat a little oil in a heavy based pan and fry the onions, coriander root, garlic, ginger, chilli and turmeric. Cover with water and add the kaffir lime leaves, after gently scrunching them in your hands to release the oils. Add the pumpkin and gently simmer until you might need to add more water.
Add the coconut milk and bring back to the heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes.
Remove the kaffir lime leaves and blend with a mixing wand until smooth.
Add the fish sauce, lime juice pepper then return to the heat, just enough to heat it through but making sure it doesn't boil.
 Serve into hot bowl, garnish with chopped coriander and a little finely chopped tomato or grated carrot.

Roasted Pumpkin Salad

This recipe is a variation I have concocted from a Vietnamese recipe, replacing sweet potato with pumpkin.


1 pumpkin, skin removed and cut into bite-sized chunks
Peanut oil for roasting and frying
1 red onion, sliced
250g bacon ends, cut into bite-sized cubes
A handful pumpkin seeds
A handful of raw peanuts
1 red pepper, sliced
1 packet rocket leaves

For the dressing

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
Salt and black pepper
A couple of spring onions, finely sliced
Zest and juice of 1 large orange
- shake all ingredients in a jar to combine

For the garnish

Fresh mint leaves
1 green mango, sliced finely - use a vegetable peeler to create long thin slices
Fresh French bread, warmed
1 large pumpkin, to use as a serving bowl


Place the cubed pumpkin on a sheet of baking paper in a large roasting dish. Drizzle a little peanut oil on the pumpkin followed by salt and pepper then roast until golden and brown.
Dry roast the peanuts and pumpkin seeds on another oven tray, being careful not to burn them, then chopped roughly.
Into a pan heat a little oil then fry the bacon until crispy and golden. In the final minutes of cooking add onion slices and red pepper and gently stir fry for 1 minute.
Into a large bowl add pumpkin, bacon, onion and pepper along with a couple of handfuls of rocket leaves along with the mango slices. Pour over dressing and use fold to coat.  Finally add chopped nuts and seeds.

To serve

Cut off the top third of the pumpkin to use as a lid for the "serving dish".  Use a spoon to remove seeds from remaining cavity of pumpkin. Place at the centre of a large serving platter and line the inside of the pumpkin with a few rocket leaves.
Place the mixture inside the pumpkin and sprinkle top with mint leaves. Replace the pumpkin top and allow to rest half an hour before serving with warm crusty French bread.

Traditional American Pumpkin Pie

This recipe was kindly given to me by a lovely American lady I boldly engaged in conversation while we were dining in a restaurant in Hanoi. I heard her accent and just knew she would have a great recipe to help us celebrate Halloween.

You will need

Sweet short crust pastry to line a medium sized pie dish, thawed
1 1/2 cups cooked and mashed pumpkin
3 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup evaporated skim milk
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground cloves
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2.5cm freshly grated ginger - her recipe calls for � tsp ground ginger 
Zest of 1 large orange
1 Tbsp rum
Thick Greek yoghurt
Fresh mint sprigs


Preset oven to 200degC. Line a pie dish with pastry and set aside in the fridge. Mix pumpkin, sugar, orange zest and spices together in a large bowl. Add evaporated milk, rum and eggs and mix well. Pour the filling into pie shell and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 180degC and bake for 45 minutes. If crust begins to get too brown, loosely cover with foil.
Serve in thick wedges topped with Greek yoghurt along with a sprig of fresh mint or orange slices.