Pumpkin Choka

Sweet & savoury goodness – pumpkin choka

Gma used to give me this for breakfast, with a soft and comforting, pillowy roti. It still is one of my most favourite Trini dishes, and the same goes for my cousin, who lives nr Winchester. We met up recently and reminisced about how sweet, delicious and divine it is, and how we hardly ever use pumpkins otherwise! It’s actually also a good one for wheening babies too, as it is as it’s so soft and scrumptious!

I’d serve a dollop of it in a bowl, and scoop it up with a roti (flat bread), as a vegetable side dish for a main meal, or, as Gma did for me, for breakfast… yum.

Serves: 4 generously | Prep: 10 mins | Cooking time: 30 mins | Tip: No rush

You will need:

500g pumpkin* or a mixture of this and butternut squash

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 medium onion roughly chopped

Himalyan pink salt to taste

optional – 1 clove crushed garlic; 1 tsp tumeric; 1 tsp coriander; 1 tsp chilli flakes or fresh chopped chilli of choice


coriander to garnish

*not the halloween variety as they are all shell and no content [sounds like an ex boyf LOL]

Pumpkin. Chunked. I’ve used a couple of varieties here, hence the different colours. Add some tumeric if yours looks a bit pale.
  1. To a heavy bottomed pan, add the coconut oil to heat up while you chop the onion. Keep the heat on the low side of medium. Then throw in the onion and sprinkle on a touch of salt – this will help to release some of the water fromthe onions for it to caramelise.
  2. Tackle the pumpkin… They can be pretty hard to break into fresh, so I will not judge if you buy either pre-chopped/ frozen. Make sure the pumpkin is on a level surface and you are cutting with the flattest side down, so it is more stable. Generally, you need a v sharp and large knife – I found a Chinese style cleaver pretty handy here, as the width of it means you can wiggle the knife blade in the flesh and crack it open. Failing this, put some muscle into it, phone a friend or drop it from a first floor window [not really as potentially, you could damage a passing person/ animal and it’s not v hygenic]. Cut into manageable size for you, and peel the skin off. Cut into chunks. They don’t have to be all the same size. This will give you a more textured end result, rather than a puree.
  3. Add the [clean] chunks of pumpkin to the onion and give it all a quick stir.
  4. If you want to add some more flavours, add the spices and garlic at this point.
  5. **This bit is important** Just pop the lid on and let it do it’s ‘ting for about 10 mins. No h-interfering. Cooking it low and slow will let all the natural sugars develop, and it will steam in it’s own deliciousness.
  6. Check that everything is not sticking to the bottom of the pan by stirring again, and if you need to, add some water to release it, scraping up the caramelised bits as you go.
  7. When you lift the lid again, after about 10 mins, repeat number 6, and season it to your taste. If it’s all cooked through, slightly squishy and melty, then you can put the lid back and let it sit in the pan until you are ready to serve with a stylish garnish and devour.