While most Thais probably eat Thai pumpkin either as the traditional pumpkin custard or in a Thai curry, it’s also sold year-round in huge mounds at every supermarket, so they must cook a lot of it at home too. I buy Thai pumpkin a couple of times a week, as you really can’t beat it for an incredibly healthy meal and one of the cheapest meals it’s possible to eat.
Around one quarter of an average Thai pumpkin costs me between 12-15 baht at my local Bangkok supermarket. That’s around 26-51 cents. That’s enough for lunch or dinner for me and, as it’s really filling, it’s all I eat.
Cooking pumpkin for a quick meal is easy, and requires nothing more than a microwave. All I do is scrub the skin (as I also eat that), scoop out the seeds and then put it in a bowl and throw it in the microwave for about 10 minutes. I then open up the microwave to test to see if it’s completely soft all the way through. If it’s not, it gets cooked for a couple more minutes. Then, I pull it out, sprinkle a tablespoon of brown sugar over it and mix it into the pumpkin. It’s then eaten piping hot, skin and all.
Thai pumpkin is one of the healthiest things you can eat. It’s loaded with Vitamin A, beta carotene, Vitamin K and Vitamin E. It also has lots of potassium in it and, of course, very few calories for the amount you eat to fill you up.
You can also buy pumpkin whole and store it until you want to eat it. It will keep around 4-6 months if you don’t cut into it and keep it in a dry place. Once you cut into it, though, it won’t keep fresh for longer than a couple of days, so be sure you can eat the whole thing before you do. In Thailand, a whole pumpkin goes for between 40 and 60 baht ($1.33 and $1.95) depending on the size.
You’ll find Thai pumpkin at every fruit and vegetable market in Thailand, which are the places to shop if you want cheap and fresh. Supermarkets also stock them. No matter where you buy them, though, you can buy one whole or request a piece cutting off. Any Thai seller will be happy to oblige.