Pumpkin is the soul of any celebratory meal that is laid out in a UP home , especially vegetarians. Normally served with pooris , this exquisite golden squash is a must for all celebrations be it a wedding or a small birthday or any other get- together . Every UP bhaiyya’s ( as we fondly call them) home I have visited have served me kachoris or pooris with kaddu ki sabzi or aloo koda( pumpkin with potatoes) . K says Pumpkin is as synonymous to UP homes as eggplant is to Andhra Pradesh.
If you ever visit Benaras , you will see people , after their dip in the holy ganges , rushing to kachori gully to eat deep fried kachories with Gughni( stewed black chickpeas with cumin and mustard seeds) , aloo bhaji( potato curry) or Aloo Koda . UP vegetarians are very strict with their diets so much so that they refrain from using garlic and onions . The marwari ( baniyas as they are called there ) food , often suggests the austerity of the desert land( they originate from rajasthan) , specially in its ingredients and is quite superb. This is one such curry adapted from their kitchens. It is quite simple , yet astounding ! This pumpkin curry was one of the first dishes I tasted in the days K was the lead and I was his sous chef. We normally serve it with Poori , Kachauri or Methi Rotis
3 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash or pumpkin
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 tablespoon of dry coconut
1 teaspoon of chopped cilantro leaves
Salt to taste
For the tadka:
1 teaspoon each of cumin and mustard seeds
2-3 red chilles or green chillies or both
1 teaspoon of chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon of turmeric
A pinch of asafoetida.
Oil to saute
Heat Oil in a karahi (Wok) and add the cumin, mustard seeds and red , green chillies .
Once they splutter , add cumin powder . turmeric and saute .
Then add the cubed butternut squash pieces and add water and salt .
Cover and cook until mushy and soft , If the cubes are still intact but oooked .press with the back of your spatula to make them mushy.
Add chilli powder , coconut flakes, mix well and remove from heat.
Serve hot with roti , poori or kachauri.