Oilseeds are plants grown for their seeds or fruits rich in fat, such as rapeseed or sunflower (seeds), or almonds and nuts (fruits). Pumpkin seeds are recognized for several health benefits. They are rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids which can be helpful for prostate problems. They also contain tocopherol which is a precursor of vitamin E. The seeds can be used as a healthy snack, or incorporated into granola, muesli, breads and other food products. We thought we would use them to offer you a recipe from a Mayan origin that also contains lycopene.
A little history…
Having swept through Mexico in the 1500s, the Spanish conquerors documented wonderfully what the Mayan people consumed. Today, thanks to, among others, the conquistador Hernán Cortés, who invaded the country in 1519; we can today enjoy Mayan cuisine. All varieties of corn, sweet potatoes, hot peppers (chili-like), tomatoes and squash (seeds included) were ubiquitous in Mayan cuisine. The seeds of pumpkins and squash were highly valued in all the homes of these indigenous people. These natives (Mayans) incorporated, and still incorporate, these seeds in almost all of their dishes.
By the way, as mentioned in the introduction, it is particularly beneficial for men to include them in their diet, because they have beneficial effects for the prostate. That being said, the recipe in this article is for everyone. This culinary creation is called “Sikil p’ak” in the Mayan dialect. “Sikil” means “pumpkin seed”, while “p’ak” means “tomato”. We are sure that if you try this recipe, “Sikil p’ak” will be the new addition to your movie night; whether you are a child, a teenager or an adult!
– 3 Italian tomatoes (or) 2 medium red tomatoes of your choice
– 1 cup of shelled pumpkin seeds (green, no salt)
– 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
– 1/2 cup of French shallots (or) a small red onion
– 1 seeded jalapeño pepper
– Salt and pepper to taste
– 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro
– 1/4 cup of fresh parsley (flat or curly)
– 1 tablespoon of olive oil
– 1/2 teaspoon of orange zest (optional)
– Wheat or multigrain tortilla chips (scoop, round or triangular type)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, then prepare a small baking sheet, fitted with a piece of parchment paper. Cut the tomatoes in half and lay them out on your baking paper. They can take between 20 and 40 minutes to cook; it all depends on the variety chosen. The important thing is that the peel is moderately blackened; this will be your desired cooking indicator. Once cooked, leave them out of the oven to cool, after which you will be able to cut them into small cubes.
- Take out a medium to large nonstick skillet to roast your seeds. Roast your pumpkin seeds over medium heat until they are medium golden, but try as much as possible, not to burn them. The secret is to stir them frequently, so that you can see how they evolve.
- It’s time to cut your herbs: garlic, shallots (or) red onion, jalapeño pepper, and orange zest (if you choose to use the zest). In a medium saucepan, simultaneously add the oil with the herbs mentioned above. Subsequently, you will need to cook this mixture over medium heat for 7-8 minutes, or until the pepper has softened a bit; no change in color is required. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, then set aside to cool.
- In a blender, combine the onion mixture, pumpkin seeds, herbs (parsley, cilantro), lime juice, olive oil and water. Puree until you get a hearty dip; add the tomatoes, then mix again while keeping this precious texture.
- Using a spatula, scrape the walls of the food processor and place into a serving bowl. If desired, cut small cubes of cheddar cheese (mild, marbled, sharp or aged). Take your tortilla chips out of their packaging to start your movie night.
So, there you have it; a chip tortilla dipped in “Sikil p’ak” topped with cheese… “Wow! It’s divinely good!” Don’t forget that the chips must be whole wheat or multigrain (for your health). Please note that this squash seed dip can easily be stored for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator.
- Vahlensieck W, Theurer C, Pfitzer E, Patz B, Banik N, Engelmann U. Effects of pumpkin seed in men with lower urinary tract symptoms due to benign prostatic hyperplasia in the one-year, randomized, placebo-controlled GRANU study. Urol Int. 2015;94(3):286-95. doi: 10.1159/000362903. Epub 2014 Sep 5. PMID: 25196580.
- Rolnik A, Olas B. Vegetables from the Cucurbitaceae family and their products: Positive effect on human health. Nutrition. 2020 Oct;78:110788. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2020.110788. Epub 2020 Mar 5. PMID: 32540673.