A great way to enjoy a West Indian pumpkin or calabaza is to turn it into fritters. You can serve these sweet pumpkin fritters as appetizers, a snack, or even for breakfast the way they do in the Caribbean. Just add a little butter and syrup to start your day off right.
- 1 1/2 pounds calabaza flesh with the rind and seeds removed
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 8 cups water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 to 2 cups vegetable oil for frying
Gather the ingredients.
Cut the calabaza into pieces of equal size. Place them in a pot and add the water and salt.
Bring the water to a boil and reduce the heat to medium low. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes until the calabaza are soft.
Remove and drain the calabaza in a colander. Let it sit for about 15 minutes to drain off all the liquid.
Place the calabaza in a mixing bowl. Add the sugar, flour and vanilla. Mix well.
Heat the oil to 350 F in a frying pan.
Add the calabaza mixture to the oil in spoonfuls. Cook the spoonfuls until they're golden on both sides, about 2 minutes per side.
Drain on paper towels before serving.
- If you can't find calabaza at your local market, you can substitute butternut, Hubbard or acorn squash.
- You can use cooking spray rather than the oil for a virtually fat-free variation, but you won't get quite the same crispy effect.
- Some pumpkin fritter recipes call for nutmeg. This adds a tasty touch and is a common variation in Jamaica.
- Add an egg to the mixture for lighter, fluffier fritters.
- The exact number of fritters you'll get from this recipe depends on how big your spoonfuls are. Add a little cooking time in the oil to make sure they're warmed all the way through if they're particularly large. If they're on the small side, avoid overcooking them.
- Some Latin American markets sell calabaza already cut into pieces, doing a lot of the prep work for you. For optimal freshness, look for flesh that is moist but not wet or soft. The flesh should be bright orange in color.