For Women’s History Month, meet Tambra Raye Stevenson, a woman making history. She’s founder and CEO of WANDA Women and Girls Advancing Nutrition, Diet and Agriculture, dedicated to making food accessible, affordable, equitable and culturally appropriate for all. Tambra and I are both members of Les Dames d’Escoffier and Oldways advisors, on top of which Tambra also serves on Tufts Food and Nutrition Innovation Council, DC Food Council I’m probably leaving some out.
Photo credit: Crystale Vale Spearman
Tambra has a TEDx talk coming up in April, and later this month, Les Dames DC is hosting her panel, Nourishing the District, how women have led the charge to tackle DC- area food insecurity. Women have always been on the front lines when it comes to nourishing others. We’re not always so good about nourishing ourselves. Maybe that’s why one part of WANDA’s outreach includes the Sisterhood Supper Challenge, encouraging women to host a meal and start a conversation about culture, wellness, and food memories. The best talks happen around the table. That’s where we connect.
Curried Caribbean Pumpkin Dip
I might start that meal with curried Caribbean pumpkin dip. Also called pumpkin talkari, It’s Trinidad’s comfort food — belly-filling, with warming flavors that dance on the tongue., vitamins C and A to keep you nourished, and something else you can’t see but you can feel. “It’s not only nutritious food, it’s culturally nutritious food,” food that speaks of its African heritage.
As Tambra says, “Food is power, culture, community.”
Curried Caribbean Pumpkin Dip
- 1-1/2 cup pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling, preferably fresh*
- 2 teaspoons Jamaican curry powder or your favorite curry blend
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1- inch piece of ginger sliced into matchsticks
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
- 1/2 teaspoon nigella also known as black onion seed
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- red pepper flakes optional
- juice of 1/2 lime
- pinch of sea salt
- to garnish: any or all:
- cilantro chopped
- pumpkin seeds
- green sprouts
- thyme leaves
- grape tomatoes halved
- whole grain bread or crackers for serving
- Pour pumpkin puree into a colander and let it drain for a few minutes, yielding a thicker puree.
- Pour remaining pumpkin into a medium-sized bowl, and stir in curry powder. Set aside.
- Pour coconut oil into a skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the ginger, and stir.
- Add the cumin, fennel and nigella seeds, curry leaves and cinnamon sticks, and, if you like, a pinch of red pepper flakes. Keep stirring.
- When the spices sizzle and turn fragrant, about three to five minutes, remove from heat. Remove cinnamon stick and curry leaves.
- To serve, line a plate or shallow bowl with greens. Spoon the pumpkin mash on top and make dimples all over the surface with a chopstick or handle end of a spoon. Drizzle on the ginger and spices, then sprinkle the lime juice over everything. Finish with a pop of sea salt and garnish lavishly with cilantro, pumpkin seeds, sprouts and grape tomato halves.
Steam fresh pumpkin cubes in a covered steamer or double boiler for 25 minutes, or until you can pierce the flesh easily with a knife point.
Other Pumpkin Recipes to Enjoy: