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
Edited November 2018
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 (optional but nice)
1 green chilli, finely sliced (optional but nice)
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. coriander powder
Salt to taste (approximately 1 tsp.)
Juice of 1/2 lemon or 1/2 tsp. mango powder (amchoor)
1/4 tsp. chilli powder
1/2 tsp. Garam Masala
1, 2 or 3 tsp. sugar, according to taste
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 (optional)
Add pumpkin, all the spices, except garam masala, and salt.
Taste and add sugar if needed. This dish is supposed to be sweetish, but some pumpki9ns are sweet enough not to need additional 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. I often cook it in a pressure cooker, it takes minutes and tastes nicer. Cook for two whistles or 2 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, if used. 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.