From trick or treating to apple bobbing, Halloween is always a highlight, particularly with people taking inspiration from across the Pond and really making a ‘thing of it in recent times.

In our day, Halloween consisted of carrying a carved out turnip (yes dear reader, there were no pumpkins back then and you try hollowing out a turnip!), sticking on a bin bag as a costume (times were tough in the 80s) and walking the streets with your mates (parents weren’t allowed) knocking on doors saying:

‘The sky is blue, the grass is green, have you got a penny for Halloween? If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do, if you haven’t got a ha’penny then God bless you’.

There was another version of that involved substituting ‘God bless you’ with something a bit more threatening, but we’ll let you Google that as we obviously don’t condone vandalism.

You would then return home to count your pennies (or ha’pennies’) and if you were lucky bobbed an apple, and that was Halloween circa 1984.

Now, it has gone very commercial. Turnips have been replaced by pumpkins (much easier to hollow out and carve); you no longer ask for money but sweets (no wonder we don’t have as many entrepreneurs these days) and there’s a myriad of games to play other than just sticking your head in a cold bucket of water.

But, Halloween 2020 will be very different.

Yes, this blasted pandemic has claimed another victim, with people being dissuaded from trick and treating and apple bobbing (to be fair lots of little hands reaching into a bowl of sweets or thrusting their heads and mouths in water are not conducive to reducing contagion); and the rule of six (or none depending where you live) means you can forget costume parties!

Thankfully, as we are a resourceful nation and have all learned to adapt to these challenging times, Halloween isn’t cancelled.

It’s been great to read stories of families still planning to dress up at home and have Zoom parties with their friends, and seeing so many homes transformed into spooky buildings.

We’ve all got used to staying at home in 2020, so let’s make the most of it. Dress up, play silly games, eat nice food and then next year, all being well, we can make Halloween 2021 the best ever.

Butter pumpkin chicken curry, fragrant rice and garlic and coriander naans

This recipe uses the inside of a pumpkin which normally gets thrown away after carving, so it’s reducing food waste and it also brings our Indian month to a fitting close.

Garlic and coriander naans

  • 480g strong white flour
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 10g fast acting dried yeast
  • 10g salt
  • 90g yoghurt
  • 60g rapeseed oil
  • 200g warm water

Put all the dry ingredients in a kitchen mixing bowl put keep the yeast separate from the sugar and salt as it will stop it from activating. Attach the dough hook start mixing and add the warm water and mix for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Allow to prove in warm place till it’s doubled in volume. Once it has doubled place on a floured work bench and knock the dough back. Heat up a chargrill pan on a high heat. Then portion the dough into 8 balls and roll out. Rub with oil and chargrill all for 2 minutes each side and then bake for 5 minutes till cooked and fluffy inside.

Fragrant rice

  • 1 mug of basmati rice
  • 2 mugs of water
  • 1 handful of chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 bunch of spring onions sliced

In a medium sauce pot put the rice, water and salt then bring to the boil and cook for 3 minutes, then cover with a tea towel and leave to steam, using a fork fluff the grains of rice and finish with chopped spring onions and fresh coriander.

Pumpkin puree

  • 950g scraped out pumpkin inside (no seeds)
  • 150g rapeseed oil
  • 7g salt

Pre heat oven to 220oc. Place the pumpkin on a baking tray season with the salt and pour over the oil and bake until the pumpkin is cooked and starting to caramelise around the edges. Place in a food blender and blend till a smooth puree leave to one side as this form the base of the curry.

Chicken marinade

  • 500g large diced chicken breast
  • 30g minced garlic
  • 25g minced ginger
  • 1 ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 110g yoghurt
  • 3 tsp rapeseed oil

Mix with chicken and leave to marinade for minimum 1 hour up to 24 hours. After the chicken has marinated chargrill on a high heat till tender, juicy and cooked through.

Pumpkin Butter sauce

  • 70g butter or ghee
  • 30g rapeseed oil
  • 250g sliced onion
  • 620g of the pumpkin puree
  • 115g tomato paste
  • 20g minced ginger
  • 20g minced garlic
  • Pinch of ground green cardamom
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 pinch of ground clove
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 240g double cream
  • 200g yoghurt
  • Cooked marinated chicken breast
  • Chopped coriander

In a heavy based sauce pan on a medium heat fry the onions, garlic and ginger till golden brown. Follow this by adding the spices and cooking to release their flavour. Then add the pumpkin puree, tomato paste and lemon juice cook for 5 minutes then add the chicken. Finish the curry with the cream and yoghurt and reduce slightly till a thick rich thick sauce is made. Add a handful of fresh chopped coriander, serve with the warm fluffy naans and fragrant rice.

Chris Brown
About Chris Brown
Sous Chef of SK Foods.
Your food. Our Passion.