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Ghapama - Armenian Festive Pumpkin

Festive, unique, bright and most importantly healthy Ghapama from Armenian cuisine! So dear to the hearts of Armenian families around the world, this traditional pumpkin dish symbolizes "a sweet life".

In Armenian, the word “Ghapama” literally means cooked in a covered pot. It is prepared by removing the guts of the pumpkin and stuffing it with boiled rice, dried fruits and some nuts, such as chopped almonds, walnuts, apples, apricots, plums, dates, prunes and raisins. It is also common to pour on honey and mix in ground cinnamon or sugar, and adding butter. Sometimes the Ghapama is made with a winter squash such as the acorn squash variety rather than pumpkin.

Ghapama is commonly cooked in a tonir (underground clay oven), where it’s lowered in a wire basket to sit suspended over the coals, once the vegetables and meat have been cooked in the heat of the oven. The pumpkin is then baked until it becomes soft, and then brought to the table where it is cut up and served.

The way it’s served is pure food theater - the whole pumpkin is cut down to open up like the petals of a flower, and a waft of fragrant honeyed steam makes everyone excited!

People merrily serve it to the table, singing "Hey, Jan Ghapama", as there is even a special song devoted to Ghapama, which describes this delicious dish.

To learn more about Armenia's food & drink, please visit our ARMENIAN CUISINE page

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