Pumpkin or Squash Bhaji (Dry Curry), Gupta Family Style
Kaddu ki Sabji/Bhaji or Meetha Kaddu
This dish used to be made in all the 'baniya' (business community) families of Uttar Pradesh on festivals and weddings, as part of a special meal consisting of a simple Potato Curry, a yoghurt dish called Boondi Raita, a couple of seasonal vegetables such as Bhindi Bhaji, Gobhi Aloo, Cabbage, Arvi or Colocacia, followed by milk pudding like Rice Kheer or other Indian sweets. In our family, it is still a festive vegetable dish, served with fried Indian bread (Poories) or stuffed, fried bread (Kachauri. It can be made with any of a variety of pumpkins or squashes or even root vegetables like turnips, celeriac etc.. Serves 4-6
500 gm. red/ripe pumpkin (use butter nut or other varieties of squashes), peeled and chopped into 2 inch pieces
2 tbs. cooking oil
1 tsp. fenugreek seeds*
A pinch of asafoetida or Hing powder
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger, peeled and grated or finely chopped
1 green chilli, finely sliced
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1/2 tsp. mango powder (amchoor). Juice of 1/2 lemon can be used instead.
1, 2 or 3 tsp. sugar, according to taste
1/4 tsp. chilli powder
Salt to taste (approximately 1 tsp.)
1/2 tsp. Garam Masala
A small bunch of coriander leaves (optional, not used in traditional recipe), washed and chopped.
*To give this dish a slightly different flavour, use mustard seeds and curry leaves for tarka, in place of cumin seeds and asafoetida.
Slice, peeled and chop pumpkin into 2 inch pieces. Do not throw away the Seeds.
Heat oil in a pressure cooker or pan.
Add fenugreek seeds and asafoetida/hing powder. Allow to splutter or turn light brown. Do not let them burn, fenugreek seeds turn very bitter when burnt.
Add ginger and chilli, fry for 10 seconds
Add pumpkin, all the spices, salt and sugar. Mix thoroughly and stir fry for a minute or two on high flame.
Reduce heat and cook until soft, stirring from time to time. In our family, it is eaten soft and mashed, almost like a halwa. See picture 2 and 4.
You can cook it in a pressure cooker for two whistles or pressures or minutes under full pressure. When using pressure cooker, it is better to add a tablespoon or two of water, to avoid burning.
Add and mix garam masala, mango powder (or lemon juice) and coriander leaves. Traditionally, it is served without a garnish of coriander leaves.
You can make this dish with a South Indian style mustard seeds and curry leaves tarka: Step 2; Heat oil, add mustard seeds and asafoetida powder. When seeds begin to splutter, add curry leaves, ginger and chillies. Fry for 10 seconds and then pumpkin. Then follow as above.