Sunday, December 19, 2010

Goddess Gourd

You wouldn’t think that a food that is more than 96 per cent water (another one of the white pumpkin’s Sanskrit names is kumbhaphala, meaning ‘waterpot fruit’!) would be able to pack in much in the way of nutrition. But like many other members of the gourd family (cucumber, watermelon, bottle gourd, etcetera) to which it belongs, the white pumpkin is loaded with nutrients. It is an excellent source of thiamine (vitamin B1) and a good source of niacin (B3) and Vitamin C. It also has good amounts of many minerals like calcium and potassium. And the fact that it has almost no calories makes it both the nutritionist’s and the dietician’s dream.

(For more detials, see my book )

This is simple, delicious curry that goes well both with plain steamed rice, roti or even bread.

White Pumpkin Curry

1/2 kg white pumpkin, deseeded, peeled and cut into 1/2 in cubes

For the masala

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 tablespoon urad dal (black gram)

1 teaspoon cumin (jeera)

3 dried red chilies

3/4 cup fresh coconut

1/2 inch piece of tamarind

1/2 tablespoon of grated jaggery (adjust to taste or skip altogether)

salt to taste

For seasoning

1 tablespoon oil

3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/2 dried red chilli, broken into pieces

Pinch of asafoetida

7-8 curry leaves


Boil the pumpkin pieces in about half a cup of water till cooked. Roast the coriander seeds, urad dal, cumin and red chillies till you get a roasted smell and the coriander seeds and urad dal darken in colour. Grind into chutney consistency with the coconut and tamarind.

Add to the cooked pumpkin pieces along with salt, grated jaggery and a little water to make a curry and simmer over a low heat for about 5 minutes. Heat the oil, add the red chilli pieces and mustard. When the seeds start to splutter, add the asafoetida. When the stop spluttering, add the curry leaves. Remove from heat after a few seconds and add to the curry.

Remove from heat and serve with plain steamed rice

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