Whole pumpkin biryani

Whole pumpkin biryani

Ben's BBQ Bible
Billy Law

The first time I ate a whole stuffed pumpkin (squash) was when I was staying in Plettenbergbaai in South Africa, a place that reminded me of Byron Bay. While I was there I had the most amazing braai (barbecue) I have ever experienced.

For this recipe I have taken another influence, Indian, which is strong in South Africa, and combined it with pumpkin. Vegetable biryanis are more common than meat ones, so it makes sense really. It takes a little preparation, but if you’re going on a picnic you could prepare this and wrap it up to take along, as it travels so well.


Quantity Ingredient
100g basmati rice
1 large butternut pumpkin
2 tablespoons tinned chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped mint
1 tablespoon coriander leaves
pinch saffron threads
1 teaspoon garam masala


Quantity Ingredient
10g garlic, peeled
10g fresh ginger, peeled
2 red chillies
sunflower oil
4 tablespoons yoghurt
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
salt, to taste

Spice mix

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, sliced
3 cardamom pods, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cloves
1 bay leaf


  1. Wash and drain the rice until the water runs clear, then boil until two-thirds cooked. Drain and refresh.
  2. To make the marinade, purée the garlic, ginger and chillies with a little sunflower oil to help loosen the mix. Combine with the remaining marinade ingredients.
  3. Halve the butternut pumpkin, remove the seeds and scoop out the flesh to create a large cavity in each half. Chop the scooped-out pumpkin into dice and add half the dice to the marinade. Keep the remaining pumpkin dice for soup or another use.
  4. To make the spice mix, heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan or on the hotplate and cook the onion. Add the remaining spice mix ingredients, and fry until slightly golden. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  5. Combine the marinated pumpkin with the tinned tomatoes.
  6. Spoon the pumpkin mixture into the two pumpkin halves, then add alternate layers of cooked rice, spice mix, chopped mint and coriander leaves.
  7. Sprinkle saffron over the top of each pumpkin half then sandwich the two halves together. Wrap tightly in three or four layers of foil and place in the coals or on the edge of the barbecue to cook for 1½ hours.
  8. To serve, open the two halves and sprinkle with the garam masala.
Ben's BBQ Bible
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again