A friend passed this recipe to me in 2009. I still have the recipe but have not been using it for the past 5 years until 2 weeks ago. Interestingly, I have seen several versions of the recipe on the internet of late, id est, the quick version, the traditional version, the all-in-one version, and what have you.
Erm… sorry…. I was talking about making pumpkin jam, by the way 😉
Five years ago, my friend asked me if I had made the jam, I said I would soon, but… zilch. Four years ago, we met and she asked me again… erm… not yet, I retorted bashfully. And then, I was hoping I would not bump into her again, and guess what? We have not met for the past 3 years, not because it was planned, but because we have both been too busy and pre-occupied with our own lives.
Was it a fluke?
A pumpkin or a squash?
Two weeks ago, I included on the list of grocery for my husband to buy at the local supermarket.
It read – 1 pumpkin.
I was hoping he would come home buying a normal pumpkin. You know the ones which are frequently carved as Jack O’Lanterns for decoration around Halloween? Or the ones that brought Cinderella to the ball? But he came home with an almost red and midget-sized pumpkin. I think the fairy godmother would have a hard time transforming the small pumpkin into a carriage. Ha ha ha…
I have never seen that type of pumpkin before. There was an adhesive barcode with a label stating “potimarron” on the pumpkin
Thanks to internet and cyberspace, I learnt that potimarron is the French word for Red kuri squash which has a mellow chestnut-like flavour. No wonder this winter squash is called “kastanjepompoen” (chestnut pumpkin) in Dutch.
So what’s the difference between a pumpkin and a squash? I’m not an expert, but pumpkin is a type of squash and is usually yellow-orange-red in colour, while not all squashes are pumpkins. Anyway, both squash and pumpkin belong to the same family – the cucurbitaceae.
Interestingly, squash is a botanic term, while pumpkin is a culinary term 😉
Oh by the way, the chestnut pumpkin was really cheap as it was in season. It was only 69 euro cent per kilogram, and that small pumpkin weighed less than 2 kg.
I did it my way!
Five years of procrastinating on such a simple recipe is such a shame. There are only 4 ingredients – fresh pumpkin, coconut cream, brown sugar and pandan leaves!
Well, I tweaked the recipe by adding 3 extra ingredients: orange zest, cardamom and a pinch of salt. And instead of brown sugar, I used gula jawa (or palm sugar).
• Cubed fresh pumpkin (I used ¾ of the 1.5kg chestnut pumpkin)
• Freshly squeezed coconut cream (I used 200 ml Tetra Brik Chaokoh 100% coconut milk)
• Brown sugar (I used 250 g gula jawa)
• Young pandan leaves (I used frozen pandan leaves, about 9 –cleaned and tied in knots of 3 leaves each)
• Zest of 1 orange
• 4 cardamom pods (seeds pounded)
• A pinch of salt
• Place the pumpkin into a steamer insert, cover and steam until soft, about 20 minutes. (I steamed my cubed pumpkin in a microwavable steaming basket for 9 minutes on 600W)
• Transfer the steamed pumpkin to a blender and blend until smooth with no lumps (I used an immersion blender to blend the steamed pumpkin together with the block of 250g gula jawa – shaved – into smooth puree)
• Combine the pumpkin, coconut cream, brown sugar and pandan leaves in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is thick and smooth which can go up to 2 hours (I added the orange zest, freshly pounded cardamom seeds and a pinch of salt and instead of using a heavy-bottomed pot, I opted for the slow-cooker. I started with high for 1 hour, then switched to low for another hour and back to high for the 3rd hour and finally to auto for the last 30 minutes to reach the consistency I wanted)
• Remove and discard the pandan leaves before storing in sterilised jars.
By slow cooking the jam for 2 hours or more, increases the shelf life of the finished product. My pumpkin jam had been slow-cooking for three and half hours! I was amazed by the result. I did not have to stir too much either. Instead I was multi-tasking lots of things within those hours. I finished cooking lunch, finished having lunch, and finished washing the dishes and cleaning up my kitchen. By the time my last plate was wiped and stored away neatly in the cupboard, it was time for me to sterilize the jam jars. It was so easy!
And the smell emitting from the slow cooker was absolutely gorgeous!
This pumpkin jam recipe is the cousin version of the much loved coconut jam or kaya by both Malaysians and Singaporeans. The fact that the original and traditional kaya recipe has eggs, this pumpkin jam recipe is totally egg-less, meaning it’s a lot healthier. My version of the pumpkin jam with the addition of the orange zest and cardamom makes the jam even lighter and refreshing. If you love mango lassi and marmalade like I do, you will love this recipe. If you are not a fan of either, then skip the cardamoms and orange zest. Easy 😉
By the way, I made this jam filling 2 jars and they were finished within a week! The texture from day one remained the same on day 7 and the flavours became even richer day after day.
As you can see – yes – I loved spreading the pumpkin jam on crackers. You could spread it on toasted white bread with some butter, the Malaysian and Singaporean way. Yummy!
As pumpkins and squashes are in season, I am linking this post to My Treasured Recipes #3 – Taste of Autumn (Oct/Nov 2014) hosted by Miss B of Everybody Eats Well in Flanders and co-hosted by Charmaine of Mimi Bakery House
Sugar and spice and everything nice. That’s what ‘little girls’ are made of; hence I’m hopping over to Lavender and Lovage’s “Sugar & Spice (November and December Cooking with Herbs Challenge)”
This pumpkin jam will be great on scones, too. I’m also linking this post to Janice Pattie’s November Slow Cooked Challenge for St Andrew’s Day. I discovered Farmersgirl Kitchen via Karen’s blog, and I’m hooked.