Libyan Spicy Pumpkin Dip


Preparation info

  • Serves

    Six to Eight

    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Complete Guide to Traditional Jewish Cooking

The Complete Guide to Traditional Jewish Cooking

By Marlena Spieler

Published 2016

  • About

This spicy Sephardi dip from the Libyan-Jewish community in Israel is a beautiful orange colour. Many people love serving it for Sukkot and leftovers can be stored for at least a week in the refrigerator. Serve it with chunks of bread or raw vegetables to dip into it.


  • 45–60 ml/3–4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 5–8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 675 g/ lb pumpkin, peeled and diced
  • 5–10 ml/1–2 tsp ground cumin
  • 5 ml/1 tsp paprika
  • 1.5–2.5 ml/¼–½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1.5–2.5 ml/¼–½ tsp curry powder
  • 75 g/3 oz canned chopped tomatoes or diced fresh tomatoes and 15–30 ml/1–2 tbsp tomato purée (paste)
  • ½–1 red jalapeño or serrano chilli, chopped, or cayenne pepper, to taste
  • pinch of sugar, if necessary
  • juice of ½ lemon, or to taste
  • salt
  • 30 ml/2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, to garnish


    1. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onion and half the garlic and fry until softened. Add the pumpkin, then cover and cook for about 10 minutes, or until half-tender.
    2. Add the spices to the pan and cook for 1–2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, chilli, sugar and salt and cook over a medium-high heat until the liquid has evaporated.

    3. When the pumpkin is tender, mash to a coarse purée. Add the remaining garlic and taste for seasoning, then stir in the lemon juice to taste. Serve at room temperature, sprinkled with the chopped fresh coriander.