Monday, October 12, 2009

Pumpkin Fried Rice

Pumpkin fried rice with bacon and veggies, served in a carnival squash bowl! This cute and festive way to serve fried rice will brighten up any dinner table!

This is the first recipe in the Welcome Autumn: Pumpkin Series. Stay tuned for the other two awesome pumpkin recipes to come: Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with a delicious Pumpkin Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Pumpkin Pecan Pie!

I got my gorgeous squash and pumpkin from a farmer's market on Orcas Island. I purchased them from Rhonda of the La Campesina Project. (Hi Rhonda!) In fact, I think I might've ripped her off on accident! =) I pulled out all the cash in my wallet, coins included, and piled it on her stand (there was no B of A on the island!). I asked if I could afford the gorgeous squash that I had set my sights on. In retrospect, I'm pretty sure I was short. But she saw that I was totally in love with them and insisted that I had enough money!

It was my first time cooking/experimenting with squash and pumpkin, so Rhonda patiently helped me pick out the ones that would work best for this daring kitchen adventure! For the squash, you want to pick one that's plump and fat. It also has to have a good, wide base.

Rhonda explained that regular carving pumpkins aren't meant for cooking. They're pretty much flavorless. You have to look for the small Sugar Pumpkins that are sweet and great for cooking/baking. This is the kind you would use for pumpkin pie, if you made your own puree. You can get these anywhere this time of year- I even saw some at Home Depot! =)

First, start with the rice. You have to make it a few hours ahead of time. The rice needs to be completely cooled before you fry it. In fact, the best rice to use are ones left over from the night before. It's best when it's cold and straight out of the fridge. Warm rice will turn into a sticky gooey blob if you try to fry it. Also, it needs to be a bit on the firmer side. So whatever rice recipe you use, add a tad less water than what's called for. For mine, I used 2 cups of rice and 3 3/4 cups of water, as opposed to 4 cups.

Now for the pumpkin part. Slice off the top and bottom of your pumpkin, cut in half, scoop out the seeds, and place downward on a oiled baking sheet.

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 400 degrees. This will make it soft enough for you to chop, but it will not cook it through all the way. Slice in wedges and dice into small 1 cm cubes. Set aside.

Next, cook the bacon. You'll need 10 center cut slices of bacon, cooked thoroughly to a crisp. You can cook the bacon however you want. Some people prefer to fry it in a pan, while others bake it in the oven. It doesn't matter how you cook it, as long as it's SUPER crisp and will break easily. Once it's done and cool enough to handle, chop it up into small bits and set aside. (I bake mine for 20-30 minutes at 400 degrees)

And now for the best part! The squash bowls! Cut the tops off, and place faced down on a oiled cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees.

Take the tops out of the oven after 15-20 minutes. The underside should be slightly mushy, but the tops should still feel pretty firm and be able to hold its shape. Continue to bake the bottoms for about 10 minutes more. The bottoms need 25-30 minutes total.

When cool enough to handle, scoop out the insides to create a beautiful bowl! Set aside.

Now, start on the fried rice by coating the bottom of a wok with olive oil. Toss together 5 minced cloves of garlic and 1 diced onion for about 5-7 minutes, until the onions are starting to wilt and look a bit transparent.

Next, add the pumpkin. Toss the veggies constantly for about 5-6 minutes, making sure that nothing sticks to the bottom of the wok.

Add a 1lb bag of frozen peas and carrots. Continue to toss constantly for about 4-5 minutes.

Add the rice, along with 1/4 cup of soy sauce. Toss the mixture of rice and veggies together until everything is well incorporated and the cold/stiff rice begins to soften. About 4-5 minutes. Add the cooked bacon last. Give it a quick toss to incorporate.

Once the bacon is well incorporated, it's ready to be served!

Stuff the rice in your gorgeous squash bowls!

Serve them any way you want: with the tops on or off!

So cute!

This recipe was inspired by Ginza, my favorite Japanese restaurant. It's owned by my good friend's aunt. (Hi Kevie!) It's located in downtown Bellevue, and it's always packed, so be sure to make reservations! Their pumpkin fried rice is to die for. If any of you are from the Seattle area and are reading this, I urge you to go! (This isn't their exact recipe, but it's still pretty darn good!)

Give this recipe a try. It's SO delicious! You can't go wrong with bacon and pumpkin! The slightly sweet pumpkin is a great paring with the savory bacon. It seems like a lot of steps, but it's really quite easy to make. The recipe is simple and it will definitely impress your guests. It's a great way to show off your domestic goddess skills. =)

Click HERE for the recipes shown in this post.


  1. Yay! This looks great, my aunt queenie would be so delighted!

  2. Looks good, Judy! My mom LOVES Ginza! We go there every now and then when I'm in town. If you're looking for another good Japanese place, Maneki is good too. It's in the international district and kind of "dive-y" but they have some tasty stuff on the a la carte menu!

  3. thanks for the tip, bryn! we're always looking for great restaurants to try. =)

  4. looks delish! i'm so inspired by you :)

  5. I agree with Chocolate Shavings. What a beautiful presentation! Lately, pumpkin has been my go-to ingredient, and it hasn't failed me yet. But it never occured to me to use the pumpkin as presentation as well as ingredient!

  6. Oh what a clever idea! i love the use of the squash bowls and pumpkin fried rice sounds delicious!

  7. I LOVE Ginza! So you're local! I'm going to try this out tomorrow. Thanks so much for the recipe! :)

  8. Just had date night last night at Ginza. Very first time there and highly recommends by Japanese friend. Hubby had yelped them at the pumpkin fried rice so we had to tried it. YUM. Brought some home for the kiddos to tried. Double YUM. Now, being the cook that I am, had to google to se if I can make it at home. Your blog came up. All I can say is... THANK YOU! --

  9. looks fantastic, and I'm nearly stuffed zucchini rules with red quinoa,

    I was thrilled with your :)))


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