Wednesday, September 25, 2013


So I don’t get to participate in the Northeast’s fall festivities for yet another year.  Sigh.

But, I am getting my share of pumpkins during my Zim spring.  As this prevalent crop just starts its growing season across the landscape on Shona farms throughout the country, I thought I’d share a new way to enjoy the pumpkin plant for all of you Americans charging towards the quickly upcoming Halloween season.

Cooking a foreign dish can be challenging when ingredients are hard to find.  But this popular Shona dish is sure to be a breeze, as long as you have access to a pumpkin plant.  Do give it a try! Meet Muboora:

When this boastful pumpkin plant decided to take over my herb garden, I decided it was the perfect time to have our housekeeper Ziwone teach me how to cook Muboora.

 First Ziwone and I cut the pumpkin leaves from the vine.  If you want the plant to continue growing and producing pumpkins, you can cut one third of the leaves or less without hurting it.  In fact, leaf cutting is like pruning, it encourages new growth. If you do not want the plant growing anymore, you can harvest all the leaves, though the larger ones may be a little tougher and require a little longer to cook.

 Once washed (wash well- pumpkin leaves can get very dirty when rain splatters mud on the under-side of the leaves), we pull the tough strings off of the stems.  There are about three on each stem.

 We cut the leaves into smaller pieces that will cook faster.  Fuel, whether it is a gas-top stove or wood fire (more common), is not abundant.  Small pieces cook more efficiently.

 We also chop one beautifully red tomato.  The recipe does not require it, but if you have a small onion, it can be cooked in this recipe also... right before the tomatoes are cooked.

 First we boil the pumpkin leaves in water.

 When they are done, drain the leaves well.

 Using the previous pot helps to save dish-washing supplies later.  Here we throw the tomato in with a little olive oil.

 We cook it down until it is slightly mushy.  Yum!  Smells good...

 The cooked pumpkin leaves are mixed back into the pot. We stir and cook a teeny bit longer to blend the taste of the tomato into the leaves.

Salt and pepper to taste, and voila! Eat it with rice, sadza, or alone. This is delicious, uber-healthy muboora.  Try it tonight!