Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pumped about Pumpkin: Pumpkin and Methi subzi

There has never been a more versatile vegetable than the Pumpkin, in my opinion.

Pumpkins are grown on every continent and blends so well into each unique food culture. In Africa they make a superb soup with pumpkins and peanut, in Brazil they make a refogada - a stewed dish, in Thailand they cook it with basil in a red sauce, in Italy they make pumpkin stuffed ravioli, and in Norway they make sweet pumpkin pickle, and I can go on endlessly!

When I lived in Connecticut, I used to exclusively buy produce at the farmer stands, except in the dead of winter!  Come fall we would be spoilt with the variety of different gourds and I particularly love spaghetti and Kabocha squash, however I always picked up the traditional red pumpkin. 

Coming to todays featured recipe, is a dish that my better half likes. He spent quite a few of his childhood years in interior Maharashtra( Indian state who's capital is Mumbai) and so is particularly fond of Pumpkin, as it a staple in traditional Maharashtrian fare. Over the decades, I have gathered quite the repertoire of Pumpkin dishes and this one is my particular favorites. I'm not sure if it is an authentic recipe from anywhere.....I don't really remember reading the recipe any where, so I can safely call it a Indian fusion dish. I would love to hear if you have eaten something like this, and what it is called.

This dish has a variety of different flavors, sweetness from the pumpkin, bitter from the fenugreek, pungency from the garlic and onion seeds and aroma from the fenugreek seeds. What I like about this dish apart from the flavors is the ease in prep and quick cooking, from start to finish around 15 minutes.


2 lbs pumpkin with skin on, cubed
1 cup fresh fenugreek leaves or 3 tbsp dried leaves (aka Kasuri methi) reconstituted in water (discard water before use)
1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
1 medium sized tomato, chopped
6-8 large cloves of garlic, sliced
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp sugar 1/2 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp black onion seeds (kalonji)
1/2 tsp sesame seeds
1 + 1 tbsp oil and ghee/butter
Salt to taste

Heat oil add whole spices and allow to sputter. Do not let the fenugreek seed blacken or it will impart a very bitter flavor. Add garlic, ginger and sauté for a few seconds, then add the onion and cook till they become translucent. Add the fenugreek leaves and sauté for another few minutes. Add cubed pumpkin and all spice powders, except the sugar. Cover and cook on low flame until pumpkins are soft but not mushy. Add sugar and serve with roti or rice and dal.

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