A warming, vegan, spicy pumpkin curry using green or unripened pumpkins, Indian-style.
The North-East Monsoons have begun here in Chennai and its been a non-stop outpouring of heavy rain and gusty winds.
Brrr…the cold weather makes my body insist for warming foods and since I’m already on a pumpkin-roll, why don’t I do something savory with pumpkin?
Conveniently, I had a small quantity of green pumpkin that my grocer had mistakenly given me instead of the orange ones. Normally, unripe pumpkins don’t keep well, so I decided to use them in my curry.
The base of this curry is very similar to my Paneer Butter Masala. I made a few tweaks here and there of course.
Unlike many pumpkin dishes, this one is savory with a balance of spicy, tangy and sweet.
The green pumpkins used are actually unripened pumpkins which are less sweeter and perfect for this curry.
Although the dish’s titles says ‘spicy’, it is not overly so. This curry has a variety of Indian spices and aromats but is hardly classified as ‘too spicy’.
2 cups peeled and diced green, unripened pumpkins
1/2 stick cinnamon
1 cup finely chopped onions
2 large tomatoes, puréed
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground garlic
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp red chilli powder (cayenne pepper)
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups water
1/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt (use cashew paste as vegan alternative)
salt, as needed
a handful of roasted pumpkin seeds for garnish
- In a skillet, heat oil. Add the stick of cinnamon, cardamom and clove. Then, add the onions and sauté till golden.
- Add the ginger, garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes before adding all the spices – red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, dry mango powder and garam masala.
- Once the spices start giving off a good aroma of roasting, add the tomato purée stirring to catch the browned bits at the bottom of the pan.
- The tomato will thicken and the oils begin to separate (about 6-8 mins). Add the pumpkin and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add two cups of water and salt. Stir, then cover with a lid for 10-12mins, allowing to cook completely.
- Switch off the flame and garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds and coriander.
Tip: Using coconut oil instead of regular vegetable oil, makes this a little bit healthier.
If absolutely dire, you can omit the cinnamon, cardamom and clove used at the beginning to flavor the oil.
You can also use toasted peanuts instead of roasted pumpkin seeds.
The coriander, cumin and cinnamon are all favorite pairs of pumpkins and makes this dish so much more comforting for the chilly weather.
The roasted pumpkin seeds are optional as they give a bit of crunch. You can even substitute with toasted peanuts. Serve with any Indian bread like rotis or naans.
This is such a good recipe to use any unripe pumpkins or pumpkins that are not as sweet as the sugar pumpkins.
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