“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just cook good food from fresh ingredients”
Easy Curry Pumpkin – Punjabi Style:
This easy Curry Pumpkin or Kadu ki Sabzi is another super simple, one pot recipe from the Punjabi cuisine that makes a hearty, healthy family meal served with rice or roti. Add a few condiments, like pickles and chutneys, and some raita to change this humble curry pumpkin into an absolute treat. Why easy? Because most Punjabi dry or semi-dry curries use very basic kitchen staple spices and ingredients. In this curry pumpkin too we make a quick base with onion, garlic, tomatoes, salt, red chillies, turmeric, coriander and cumin.
Find It Difficult To Cut Pumpkin? Fear No More!
I used to avoid cooking anything with Halwa Kadu, petha or hard skinned pumpkin simply because cutting and peeling it always took so much effort and time. Most times, I ended up cutting my hand pretty bad with it or I had to wait for my husband to help me with this laborious task. But no more! Thankfully, I found this easy tip somewhere on the Internet a few years back to Roast Whole Pumpkin before cutting or peeling it. All you have to do is wash the whole big thing from outside. Simply wrap it in a foil sheet and roast in the oven till done. Cut it into two halves if it’s too big for your oven.
How To Roast Whole Pumpkin:
The baking time can vary according to the size of pumpkin and your oven temperature. If you want the pieces slightly firm for salads, you can bake it just enough to make the skin tender enough to slip off easily. Moreover if you want to add it to soups, pies, curries or make puree, cook it all the way till the flesh is buttery and creamy. You can test for doneness every five minutes after the first 30 minutes. Just poke with a knife or fork to check how tender the skin is. I buy a 2-3 kg pumpkin, roast it whole for 90 minutes to 2 hours. Then chop some into cubes and purée the rest. It saves me the trouble of going through the process again and again, and I have ready to use pumpkin for whatever sweet and savoury recipes I need it for in the freezer.
Cook It In The Microwave:
If you don’t have an oven, you can do same procedure in microwave. Simply place the pumpkin half in microwave safe dish with little water in it. Now turn the cut side down and microwave for 20 minutes or till the skin is tender. Don’t waist the seeds either. You can plant them in the garden or dry them to add to breads, soups and salads for extra nourishment. Pumpkin seeds are full of nutrients and delicious. You can wash them in a colander to remove the pith attached. Dry them with kitchen towel. Spread in a tray, cover with a muslin cloth and leave under the Sun to dry for 2-3 hours for a couple of days. Then you can roast them in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for a 10 minutes. They can easily be roasted in a skillet on stove top too.
1/2 kg pumpkin flesh
1 medium onion, diced
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 inch piece ginger, finely chopped
2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
salt to taste
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons olive or ghee (clarified butter)
Fresh coriander and green chillies for garnish
This Is What You Do:
Wash and cut pumpkin into two halves if too big. Remove the seeds and pith with a knife or scoop out with tablespoon.
Wrap the halves of pumpkin in foil sheet. Place in a preheated oven for 90 minutes to 2 hours (depending on how tough the skin is) at 200 degrees C.
Remove from oven and easily scoop out the very soft and buttery flesh. Now take 4 cups of precooked pumpkin for this curry and store the remaining in fridge or freezer to use later in soups or desserts.
To prepare the curry, heat oil in a deep frying pan. Next add sliced onions, sauté for two minutes or till just change colour (do not brown).
Next add tomatoes, ginger, garlic and all the spices and salt. Add 1/2 cup water. Cover the pan and allow the masala to simmer on medium low heat till the tomatoes are soft and begin to dilute in the curry to make a sauce.
Add the pumpkin, mx well. Next add 1/4 cup more water and cover the pan again for another 5-6 minutes to allow the flavours of curry blend nicely with the pumpkin.
Turn off heat. Squeeze a lemon over the curry.
Garnish with fresh coriander and chopped green chillies. Season with a little garam masala or a blend of ground cumin, cinnamon and black pepper.
Serve hot with plain rice or roti. Raita and pickles go great on the side.