Soak the saffron strands in 4 tbsp
hot water and leave on one side for
about 30 mins until the liquid turns
a deep auburn.
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
Soften the onions in 100g of the butter
for 10-15 mins in a covered pan. Give
them a stir now and again to stop them
catching. Put the garlic and ginger in
a small food processor with 3 tbsp
water and blend to a paste. Add to the
onions and fry for 2-3 mins. Stir in the
spices, green chilli and lime juice.
Cut the top off the pumpkins and
scrape out any seeds, leaving the flesh
and skin intact. Transfer to a roasting
tin and spoon the spiced onion mixture
into the cavity of each pumpkin.
Put the lids back on the pumpkinscover with foil, and bake for about
1 hr 15 mins – until the flesh is tender
when pierced with a knife. Leave to cool
slightly. Turn oven down to 160C/140C fan/
gas 2. Scoop the filling and most of the
pumpkin flesh into a pan, leaving a thin
layer of flesh inside the skin. Stir
in the Greek yogurt.
Wash the rice, then soak for 15 mins
in enough cold water to cover. Drain,
then partially cook the rice in a pan of
fast-boiling water for 4-5 mins – it should
still have bite to it. Drain in a colander.
Warm the spiced pumpkin mixture and
layer it inside the pumpkin shells with
most of the rice and a scattering of mint
leaves. Finish with a layer of rice on top.
Dot the top of the rice with the remaining
75g butter and drizzle each pumpkin with
the saffron and soaking liquid.
Pour water into the base of the roasting
tin to about 1cm depth. Put the lids on
the pumpkins and cover with wet
greaseproof paper, then seal the tin with
foil. Bake for 1 hr – the rice should now
be perfumed and perfectly cooked. Place
the pumpkins on a serving plate, gently
fluff up the rice with a fork and serve
straight from the shells.