Halloween special: Tahini Pumpkin

Halloween is here and pumpkins are everywhere, in supermarkets, on TV, and all over the blogosphere!

I am one of the people who gets irritated by Halloween for some reason, I don't know. May be the commercial nature to Halloween celebrations. May be I feel Americans are ramming their Halloween down our throats. May be ... I don't know. It just irritates me!

So the last thing I expected myself to do is to post a Halloween special, but all these nice recipes (here, here and here) got me inspired. I haven't cooked pumpkin in years and I really fancied some. So I decided to cook Tahini Pumpkin (yaqteen bi thineh يقطين بطحينة in Arabic)

Pumpkin in Syria is traditionally cooked in tahini sauce. A nice hearty stew perfect for a cold winter night. The tahini in this dish is added towards the end and cooked with the meat and pumpkin. Although the flavours are great, tahini curdles in high temperature and the dish doesn't look that great. I prefer to make a loose tahini sauce and pour it on the dish just before serving. It looks much nicer!

A much lighter variation on this dish omit tahini all together and replace it with garlic yoghurt sauce. This is my favourite way to cook pumpkin and I will post the recipe soon.

Here is my Tahini Pumpkin recipe:

Lamb cubes 400g
Small pumpkin
Chicken stock 250mls (or a stock cube)
Walnut 75g
Tahini 5tbsp
Garlic one clove
Allspice 1/2tsp
Ghee clarified butter 1tbsp (alternatively use olive or vegetable oil)

In a heavy bottom pot, brown the meat in the Ghee butter and remove from the pot. Add the sliced onion and cook on medium heat till soft. Peel and de-seed the pumpkin and cut into chunky pieces. Add to the pot and fry for few minutes. Add the browned meat, allspice, chicken stock, salt and pepper to taste. Crush the walnuts in a pestle and mortar and add. Stir the ingredients and add hot water if necessary to cover. Bring to boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for one and half hour or till the meat is tender. Try not to stir during cooking to avoid breaking the pumpkin.

In a bowl, wisk the tahini, salt, juice of half a lemon and very little water. The mixture will become light in colour and very stiff. Add more water and wisk. Keep adding water till the mixture start to soften and you reach a nice smooth consistency. The sauce need to be runny but not too watery.

When the pumpkin stew is cooked transfer to a deep dish and pour the tahini sauce. Decorate with some walnuts.

Serve with vermicelli rice.


furniture in Toronto said...

Hi. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I try to collect pumpkin recipes. Everybody in our family and especially my husband loves different pumpkin meals and autumn is ideal time for making them. This one is very exotic and I'm looking forward to try it.

Take care,

Anonymous said...

Hi--I really enjoy your blog, having an interest in Middle East foods and cultures. So, I'm maybe being a little bit too nitpicky and I certainly don't mean to offend, but I've noticed one word misspelled a few times that you might want to correct: "bowl." I think there are a three or four posts where you have written "bowel" instead, which is indeed something in which one puts food--during the digestion process! Anyway, as someone who is studying Arabic I appreciate you writing out the names of things in Arabic. It's helped me correct my pronunciation on a few words.


Kano said...


Welcome to my blog and I hope you and your husband will like this recipe.

Keep an eye on the blog. I will post a second recipe with pumpkin the next time I cook it. It is similar in a way to this one but much lighter.

Kano said...


Thank you very much for bringing this to my attention. Spelling was never my strongest point. I have corrected these now.

Where are studying Arabic, by the way?

Luiz Hara said...

Another great recipe - i am salivating already! I love anything with pumpkin, specially in stews, it is so comforting, and with tahini it must combine so well. Luiz @ The London Foodie

Anonymous said...

oh, this sounds so yummy, I am definitely gonna try this one of these days. thanx for sharing, I really enjoy your blog


Kano said...

@Luiz @sarah

Thank you for coming by and I hope you try it and like it.

Taste of Beirut said...

I was not aware of this recipe but it sounds really good. In Lebanon there is something called theeneyyeh al-lakteen, but it is without meat, just pumpkin and hummos.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kano--

I'm currently just studying on my own, in the U.S. But I lived a few years in Cairo, where my two main life lessons consisted of how to speak Egyptian 'aameyya and how to properly cook molokheyya--with rabbit, of course!


Kano said...


I think this is a Damascene dish. I am not sure if they eat it in other cities in Syria.

Sirine said...

Yes it s a Damascusian dish called in arabic "Makmour el Yakteen"
,it s very yummy and there s another way to make it but this one seems easier,
Thank you for sharing

Sirine said...

Yes it s a Damascusian dish called in arabic "Makmour el Yakteen"
,it s very yummy and there s another way to make it but this one seems easier,
Thank you for sharing

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