Fried Pumpkin 5.000

Dayna Smith for The Washington Post

Oct 29, 2008

The original recipe called for calabaza pumpkin, whose flesh cooks to a golden-yellow color, to be cooked to tenderness in large pieces with the peel left on. For this version, the squash is peeled, cubed and sauteed with a little olive oil. Acorn squash may be substituted.

Serve spoonfuls of the vegetarian mixture on small, crisp tostadas with a sprinkling of cheese.

Make Ahead: The cooked vegetable mixture can be frozen (without the cheese) for 1 month.

Servings: 5 cups
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil (do not use extra-virgin)
  • 2 pounds calabaza pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (see headnote; may substitute acorn squash)
  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped (1/2 to 3/4 cup)
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces
  • 12 ounces vine-ripened tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons minced habanero chili pepper
  • Sea salt
  • Small tostadas, for serving
  • 1/3 cup finely grated, dry queso añejo (may substitute Romano cheese)


Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the cubed squash and toss to coat; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes; the pumpkin will still be slightly firm.

Add the onion, green bell pepper, tomatoes and minced habanero chili pepper to taste, stirring to combine. Add salt to taste and cook, stirring occasionally to make sure the mixture isn't sticking and is still a little juicy, for about 8 minutes; taste and adjust seasoning as needed. The onion and bell pepper will still have a slight crunch, and the mixture should be shiny.

Reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes, adding oil as needed to keep the mixture moist. Remove from the heat and let sit for 20 to 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

When ready to serve, place spoonfuls of the mixture on small tostadas. Sprinkle with the cheese.

Rate it

Recipe Source

Adapted from a Yucatan recipe in Diana Kennedy's "The Essential Cuisines of Mexico (Clarkson Potter, 2000)

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at