Karaa (Libyan pumpkin dip)

Tom Kime serves up this traditional Libyan mezze dish of spiced mashed pumpkin with lots of hot griddled pitta bread
By Tom Kime
Karaa (Libyan pumpkin dip)
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 500 g pumpkin, peeled, deseeded, and chopped into 2cm cubes
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 80 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • pitta bread, to serve


1. Put the pumpkin in a saucepan with 150ml of water, and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until soft.

2. Drain the pumpkin and return to the empty pan. Season well with salt and pepper and mash with a fork until smooth. Set aside.

3. Dry-roast the caraway and cumin seeds in a small frying pan over a medium-high heat for a couple of minutes until aromatic. Crush the toasted seeds using a pestle and mortar then add the garlic, chilli, and a pinch of salt, and work into a smooth paste.

4. Stir the spice mixture and lemon juice into the mashed pumpkin, then mix in the olive oil.

5. Serve either hot or cold as part of a mezze, accompanied by lots of hot griddled pitta bread.

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