Recipe: Delica Pumpkin With Makhani Sauce & Hazelnut Crumble

By Will Bowlby

2 years ago

A vegetarian dish full of flavour

Will Bowlby shares his recipe for delica pumpkin with makhani sauce and hazelnut crumble, from his Indian-inspired cookbook: Kricket.

Recipe: Delica Pumpkin With Makhani Sauce & Hazelnut Crumble

One of the most popular dishes on our menu, and one that will stay on for a while! The sauce is the original butter chicken sauce that I tried in a restaurant in old Delhi, called Moti Mahal. Delica pumpkins are quite small and have a much sweeter flesh than a regular pumpkin. They have a relatively short season. You can buy them from any good grocer in season but if they are not available, just use another pumpkin variety instead or butternut squash.


Serves 4

  • 1 Delica pumpkin, about 18 cm (7 in) in diameter
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, plus extra for frying
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder
  • a generous pinch of sea salt
  • 100 g (31/2oz/1/2cup) wild rice
  • 200 g (7 oz) Paneer (see page 213), crumbled
  • a bunch of fresh micro coriander (cilantro), to garnish

For the Makhani sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 2 black cardamom pods
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 fresh Indian bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons ginger and garlic paste
  • 2 tablespoons red Kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 2 green chillies, split down the middle
  • 1kg (2 lb 3 oz) plum tomatoes – puréed
  • 200 ml (7 fl oz/scant 1 cup) double (heavy) cream – plus extra to serve
  • 250g (9 oz/1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • a handful of dried fenugreek leaves
  • caster sugar – to taste
  • sea salt – to taste

For the Hazelnut Crumble:

  • 200 g (7 oz/11/2cups) hazelnuts
  • 50 g (2 oz/1⁄3cup) sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons Kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon chaat masala


  1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC (320ºF/Gas 3).
  2. Halve the pumpkin, scoop out the seeds, slice the flesh into eight wedges and trim the ends. Put the pumpkin slices in a roasting pan and coat with the oil, cumin, turmeric, chilli powder and salt. Roast in the oven for around 30 minutes. You want the pumpkin to be only just cooked, as it gets a further grilling (broiling) before being served.
  3. While it is roasting, make the puffed rice. Heat a little oil, to about 2 cm (1 in) in depth, in a heavy-based saucepan until very hot. Add the wild rice and stir for a few minutes until it puffs up, then drain on kitchen paper.
  4. To make the sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat, add the whole spices and allow them to infuse the oil for 30 seconds or so before adding the ginger and garlic paste, chilli powder and green chillies. Cook for a couple of minutes, then turn the heat down to medium-low, add the tomatoes, then cover and cook for about 30 minutes until the sauce has reduced by one-third and the oil has separated from the tomatoes. Remove the whole spices, then add the cream, butter, garam masala and fenugreek leaves. Season to taste with sugar and salt and leave to one side.
  5. To make the hazelnut crumble, toast the nuts and sesame seeds with the chilli powder for a few minutes until golden in a dry frying pan (skillet). Cool, then roughly pulse to a fine powder, in a food processor, with the chaat masala.
  6. Heat up the makhani sauce and spoon into four plates or bowls. Grill (broil) the pumpkin for a few minutes on each side, until the slices get a little colour – this will add a smoky element to the dish.
  7. To serve, arrange two wedges of pumpkin on top of the sauce, and top with the crumbled paneer, hazelnut crumble, puffed wild rice and garnish with coriander.


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