"Pumpkin leaves and flowers were the vegetables that Zimbabwean expatriate Dorothy Johnson missed most from home, so the minute she could establish a garden, she started growing pumpkin in order to harvest the tender leaves to make her beloved muboora. Pumpkin leaves are a little like a sweet spinach and according to Dorothy, a source of many vital minerals and nutrients - high in niacin, vitamins A, E and K, as well as B6 and a good source of folate, calcium, iron and potassium. It’s wickedly delicious cooked with the peanut sauce." Maeve O'Meara, Food Safari Earth
If you've never tried the non-fruit part of the pumpkin plant, this is an excellent way to start.
- 600 g young pumpkin leaves and stems
- 5-8 pumpkin flowers (optional)
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) boiling water
- pinch salt
- ⅓ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- sadza (see Note), to serve
- 1 tbsp coconut oil (or vegetable oil or olive oil)
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 1 tomato, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Starting from the stem ends, remove the strings from the pumpkin stems and leaves, peeling downwards. Remove the pumpkin flower stems, the open up the flowers and discard the stamens. Tear the leaves and stems into large pieces about 5 cm.
Pour the boiling water into a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the salt and bicarbonate of soda. Add the pumpkin leaves and flowers and stir for 3-4 minutes or until wilted. Drain off any excess water and set aside while you make the sauce.
To make the sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and just starting to brown. Add the tomato, stir well and cover with a lid. Cook for 5 minutes, then stir in the peanut butter. Mix well, adding enough boiling water to make a thick paste. Bring to the boil, then add the wilted pumpkin leaves. Reduce the heat to low and mix well to combine. Serve with sadza.
• Sadza is a polenta-like maize meal and is considered a staple in Zimbabwe and other parts of South Africa.