I'm in Singapore visiting my youngest son for Thanksgiving and he doesn't have an oven in his apartment and we wanted to create some kind of traditional Thanksgiving meal as ex-pats always do. It's my favorite holiday because it involves food and family so I was up to the challenge. The lack of an oven meant that roast turkey was not going to be served, which was fine because my son never liked turkey anyway and the Chinese don't eat it, which meant it was going to be hard to find. So, we substituted chicken that we braised on the stove. We also made Chinese mushrooms with green beans that we stir fried and also some potatoes. I couldn't make my usual dressing that I was looking forward to (from my previous post so I will save it for Christmas dinner). Since everything had to be cooked on the stove, the one thing that had been requested that was problematic was pumpkin pie. Hmmm..... What to do?
Here was my solution. I took my usual pumpkin pie recipe made with soy milk (adapted from Sunset Magazine) but reduced the amount to 1 cup and actually ended up using milk. I couldn't find canned pumpkin, so I cooked a Malaysian Pumpkin (cut in chunks and cooked on the stove with a bit of water for 1/2 hour) and then I drained it and mashed it to add to the spices, eggs and milk. Then I steamed the pudding in a bowl on a little insert steamer inside a big pot. It took a lot longer to cook than I thought - about 75 minutes, but it turned out great! Now, if we had a bigger steamer and a larger bowl, it would probably take a lot less time. But I can adapt! Since we couldn't make a crust, we served shortbread cookies on the side and whipped cream on top.
The meal ended up being a lot more like atraditional Thanksgiving than I expected and I found myself really enjoying the creamy texture of the pudding without the crust. I also dunked the cookies (mine were gluten free that I had brought with me) as I love dunking! All in all, we ended up stuffed, but happy. The only thing missing was football. But most important, it was a lovely Thanksgiving because I got to be with my son who has been away from home for a year and for that I am very grateful. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!
Steamed Pumpkin Pudding
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups mashed pumpkin (can also use 1 14 oz can)
1 cup milk (soy if you would rather use it)
3 large eggs
In a large bowl, mix together milk and eggs until blended. Add in mashed pumpkin, the sugar, the spices and the salt and mix well. Pour into a bowl that is as large as you can fit into your steamer. I used a Chinese soup bowl, a steamer insert and a big pot). Pour 1” of water underneath the steamer insert, add bowl and then heat the water to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Steam for ½ hour and check water – add more if necessary.
After one hour, check to see if the center of the pudding is still very jiggly by gently moving the pot back and forth (be very careful!) Also check water. If it is still very soft, cook for an additional 15 minutes. Let cool enough until you can remove the bowl from the pot (carefully) with pot holders.
You can serve the pudding in the steaming bowl or you can scoop it out into individual small bowls or ramekins. Serve with sweetened whipped cream and shortbread cookies on the side.
Five Element Analysis
Pumpkin belongs to the Earth Element and because this is a dessert made with sugar, it is obviously and Earthy food and is certainly not going to be a balanced meal. However, the spices bring in a good bit of the Metal Element and the whipped cream (and milk – if using) adds even more. The shortbread cookies are made with wheat and contribute the Wood Element. Since this is going to be served with other foods, be sure to serve other Water, Wood and Fire foods. As Thanksgiving involves Turkey (or chicken in this case), Cranberry Sauce and a green vegetable along with dressing, potatoes and more – the meal is sure to be balanced as long as you don’t eat too much of one thing!