Deep-Fried Pumpkin with Honey and Labneh

By Claire Thomson From the book The Five O'Clock Apron
Claire Thomson's Deep-Fried Pumpkin with Honey and Labneh

A show-stopper of a dish. Children (and adults) will love the addition of honey and soft creamy labneh to the hot battered pumpkin.

Deep-frying does pose a danger. After frying, be sure to leave the hot oil to cool down somehwere safe and out of the reach of children. Strain the used oil and reserve to use another time. 

Cook time 5 min For how many? Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 500g pumpkin or squash, peeled and deseeded
  • 150ml ice-cold water
  • 100g chickpea (gram) flour
  • salt
  • 400-800ml vegetable oil, depending on size of your pan
  • To serve:
  • 1/2 recipe of labneh (see below) or thick Greek yoghurt, or curd cheese
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes

Instructions

To make the labneh place a sieve over a bowl and line it with a double layer of clean cheesecloth or soft cotton fabric.

Stir 1/2 tsp salt into 500g homemade plain or shop-bought Greek yoghurt, then pour the yoghurt into the centre of the cheesecloth. Pull up the four corners of the cheesecloth and tie them with string to make a bag, then suspend the bag over the bowl overnight to allow the whey to drain out. If your kitchen is cold enough, you can drain the yoghurt outside the fridge, otherwise leave it in the fridge. The longer you leave the labneh, the firmer it will become-after 12 hours it should be the consistency of cream cheese.

Remove from the cheescloth and store the labneh, covered in the fridge until needed.

To make the labneh balls, first ensure the labneh is firm enough to use a small spoon to scoop out little walnut-sized balls. Roll them between your hands to shape them, then place the balls on a clean cloth-lined tray to soak up any excess moisture.

Cut the pumpkin or squash into thin slices (each about 2-3mm thick).

Quickly whisk the water into the flour and add 1/2 tsp of salt.

Put the oil into a deep heavy-based saucepan, making sure it is no more than one-third full. Heat the oil to 180°C (or until a cube of bread sizzles and turns brown when dropped into it).

Dip the pumpkin slices in the batter and fry in batches for about 5 minutes until golden brown on each side.

Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm until you have fried enough to serve.

Serve the pumpkin pieces on a plate with the labneh, drizzled with a thin stream of honey, and sprinkle over some oregano, chilli flakes and a little more salt if you like.

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