Armenia meets India: Ghapama

When I was in Armenia, every meal was a feast and every feast had ghapama. I was surprised to learn the inroads this Thanksgiving staple had made in Armenia. I can’t help but give an Indian twist with kala chana and tur dal- two iconic Indian legumes. Just a hint of spices with aromatic ghee. This fusion ghapama is bound to steal your heart.

Special tools:



  • 1 pie pumpkin; cut the top to make a lid; scoop out interior; brush with a little EVOO and sprinkle a little salt
  • Legumes: 1 cup kala chana, 1 cup tur dal, each soaked separately in plenty of water for 1-2 hrs, then cooked separately till tender and drained
  • 1 cup wheat berries, cooked until done (follow the instructions on the packet, approx 15 minutes in 2.5 cups water)
  • 1/2 cup figs, each fig quartered
  • 2 tbsp ghee + 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • Indian spices:
    • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds; 1/2 tsp asafoetida (heeng)
    • garam masala: 1 tsp cinnamon powder + 1/4 tsp clove powder
  • salt to taste


Filling: Heat the ghee and oil. Splutter the cumin seeds, add the heeng. Don’t let this burn and immediately add the figs. Then all the legumes and wheat berries. Mix well. Add salt and garam masala powders. Taste for seasonings.

Stuff the bottom half of the pumpkin with the filling. Place the pumpkin lid on top. Keep the rest of the stuffing aside to serve separately on the side. Place the whole pumpkin on a baking tray.

Bake at 350 F for 1 hour.

Notes, hints, tips:
  1. Do not be embarrassed to take the help of your sous chef -The Microwave. Soften the pumpkin skin in the microwave for 2-3 minutes and then cut the top off.
  2. I used the 9″ chef’s knife. Be careful when using a large knife and a stubborn pumpkin. Assume Murphy’s law that if an accident could happen, it will. For the heterodox use of the knife here, always keep the sharp edge away from you.

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