Duba (Ethiopian Pumpkin Steak With Yellow Split Pea Purée)

Elazar Tamano

2 hours

Serves 4-6 as a starter

Pumpkin steak and yellow split pea puree sit in a terracotta bowl with a black interior

Photo by Sivan Roshiano

Photo by Sivan Roshiano

“At a traditional injera meal, duba or pumpkin, is served in a spicy and sweet stew called duba wot alongside a yellow split pea stew called kik,” explains Elazar Tamano, an Ethiopian-Israeli chef and artist. This dish, complete with a pumpkin steak, is his own riff on those two classics. 

Cook’s note: Chewu, a chili paste used in this recipe, is available at Ethiopian spice shops like Sod Hakesem in Yehud. If you can’t find it, you can substitute berbere, which is available at larger spice shops and specialty grocery stores. 

Check out recipes for kitfo (a beef tartare), injera, and more from Elazar’s collection here.


  • For the chewu butter:
  • 7 ounces / 200 grams butter
  • 2 tablespoons chewu spice mix
  • For the pumpkin steak:
  • 2.2 pounds / 1 kg pumpkin wedge 
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Coarse Atlantic sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 generous tablespoon honey or sugar
  • 1 rosemary sprig 
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • For the yellow split pea purée:
  • 1 cup dried yellow split peas
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger 
  • Salt
  • For the citrus chewu glaze:
  • 2 large oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons chewu 
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • To serve:
  • 6 tablespoons chewu butter


  1. Prepare the chewu butter: Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Using a spoon, skim off the foamy milk solids that rise to the top before they burn. Strain the butter through cheesecloth to a bowl, add the chewu and mix well.
  2. Prepare the pumpkin steaks: Preheat the oven to 320°F / 160°C. Peel the pumpkin and cut into 4 “steaks,” about 2-inches /  4-5 cm thick. Mix the steaks in a bowl with olive oil, salt, and pepper to coat. Using a sharp knife, lightly score one side of pumpkin steaks diagonally in a crisscross pattern. Place the steaks in a tray lined with parchment paper, scored side facing up. Sprinkle the rosemary and thyme sprigs on top and roast in the oven until the pumpkin is golden and soft, 1 ½ hours.
  3. Prepare the split pea purée: Place the peas in a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Use a spoon to skim off any scum on the surface, reduce to a low heat and cook until the peas are completely softened, 40 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl. 
  4. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over a medium heat. Add the chopped onion and fry until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the chopped ginger and stir for 1 minute. Add the onion and oil mixture, 1 cup water and a pinch of salt to the cooked peas, and grind to a smooth purée using a stick blender. If the stew is too thick add more water as needed. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your taste.
  5. Prepare the citrus chewu glaze: Using a peeler, remove the peel from 2 oranges and 1 lemon. Juice the 2 oranges and 2 lemons. Transfer the peels and juice to a small pot, add the remaining glaze ingredients and bring to a boil. Cook over medium-high heat to a thick syrup (cooking time depends on the surface area of the pot). Strain.
  6. To serve: Pour 2 generous tablespoons of the hot pea purée into a serving dish, place a pumpkin slice on top, scored side facing up. Drizzle a tablespoon of chewu butter and generously cover with the citrus glaze.

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