Even though I’ve never grown up in the States, I just love Thanksgiving. Maybe it’s because it always granted a long weekend…or maybe because of the abundance of food…or maybe because it’s a time to express gratitude for things we take for granted the rest of the year…OR maybe it’s a combination of it all?
When I was in school in Nigeria, I always used to be envious of the American kids because their families would go all out with the meal. My mom, on the other hand, would cook a roast chicken with some potatoes and garlic bread and call it a day. When I moved to boarding school in England, Thanksgiving became a bit more festive. There, we actually had a sit-down Thanksgiving dinner where the girls had to wear dresses/skirts and the boys wore suits. Before we dug into our meals, 20-25 students said ‘Thanks’ in their native language. That was then followed by a 4-day weekend: BLISS!
Last year, however, was probably my most memorable Thanksgiving. Four friends and I prepared a full-on Thanksgiving meal for 4 other friends. Turkey, cranberry sauce, gravy, brussels sprouts, 4 different kinds of vegetables (guess who was in charge of that ;)), marshmallow-coated carrots, mashed potatoes, dessert…you name it, we probably ate it. Two words to sum up that meal: GOOD TIMES!
This year round, I tried to evoke a Thanksgiving spirit here in Mumbai but it doesn’t look promising. Kebabs and kulfi are apparently more appealing than roast turkey and pumpkin pie 😯 . STUFF IT (and I ain’t referring to the turkey)- here’s what I’m going to be cooking to get somewhat into the spirit:
Pumpkin & Chickpea Tagine
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil/ spray oil
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
- 500g pumpkin, seeded and cut into bite-sized pieces
- Dried chillies to taste or 1 small red chilli, sliced
- Shake or 2 ground cumin
- 400g can chickpeas
- 810g can chopped tomatoes or tomato puree
- Vegetable stock cube
Lightly fry onion and garlic in olive oil (spray oil), add pumpkin, dried chillis, cumin, cook for 5 minutes then add remaining ingredients.
Simmer until pumpkin is soft. Serve with your choice of grain and a side of grilled okra.
Plain yogurt and a sprinkle of flaked almonds/raisins would make for delicious toppings.