This last year when I got to spend a whole lot of time with Ammi (mom), I was reintroduced to pumpkin, a vegetable I loathed in savory preparations as a child and never quite embraced into adulthood. Infact, I was amazed at the voracity with which my siblings looked forward to the lunches that involved pumpkin.
Mom doesn't fail to remind me, how growing up it was always me who loathed most vegetables and misled other kids into believing the same. I obviously didn't set the best example as the eldest child.
Pumpkin was often served along side khichda, which is traditional Bohra concoction of wheat, meat and dals. You see, khichda was always the star, the pumpkin served as a side that never got it's due attention as we were too busy digging our tandoori roti into the lustrous khichda.
In this recipe, the sweetness of the pumpkin is enhanced with a little bit of jaggery, balanced with the tang of tamarind while the sweet flesh absorbs the spices, making it the ultimate sweet, spicy and sour experience. An experience I wish I hadn't missed all these years.
Apart from serving with khichda and tandoori roti, it is served with poori (deep fried flatbread) or plain roti or naan. But is good with any kind of flatbread.
2 tbsp mustard oil or any neutral vegetable oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tbsp ginger paste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp red chilly powder
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin powder
600gm pumpkin, peeled, chopped into 1 inch cubes*
Thumb size tamarind pulp (about 15g)
10g jaggery or 1 tbsp sugar
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves to garnish
* Any sweet and firm flesh pumpkin variety should work.
Heat oil in a saucepan and add the mustard seeds. Once they splutter, add the ginger paste followed by all the spices.
Add the chopped pumpkin and mix well so as to evenly coat them into the spices. Roast them for about a minute.
Add 1/2 up water and cover and cook for 7-8 minutes or until the pumpkin is cooked all way through.
Add the tamarind pulp and jaggery. Cook without cover for another minute.
Garnish with coriander leaves.
Serve with roti, puri, paratha or naan.
I like to keep this on drier side but if you wish to have more gravy, cut some of the cubes smaller so that they mash and become gravy like. Also add more or less water depending on the consistency you prefer.