Red pumpkin bharta is a dry preparation of pumpkin, a simpler version of red pumpkin curry with stronger notes of mustard oil.
Unlike traditional bharta (mashed vegetables) like baingan bharta, this one does not use boiled/roasted vegetables as its base. Pumpkin cooks quickly and mashes easily without pre-treatment. This is also a chunky bharta instead of a typically smooth one, which works well with pumpkin.
The deal here is in the style of cutting the pumpkin. We need the julienne cut. Use a good knife and a strong arm. Once you have the julienned pumpkin ready, cooking red pumpkin bharta is a matter of a few minutes.
Red pumpkin bharta tastes so good, the effort of cutting feels totally worth it.
- Red pumpkin – 400 grams
- Jaggery – 2 teaspoons
- Salt – to taste
- Red chili flakes – 1/2 teaspoon
- Asafoetida – a pinch
- Panch phoron* – 3/4 teaspoon
- Mustard oil – 1 tablespoon
*Panch phoron is a mix of five whole spices (fenugreek seeds, nigella seeds, cumin seeds, black mustard seeds, fennel seeds), typically used in Bengali cuisine. If you don’t have panch phoron on hand, use a combination of the ingredients in the list that you do have.
Cut red pumpkin into thick juliennes.
Heat a tablespoon of mustard oil in a pan.
When the oil is smoking hot, add to it panch phoron, followed by asafoetida.
Add red chili flakes next, and then tip in julienned red pumpkin.
Cook on medium-high flame for 5 minutes. Add salt and jaggery.
Stir and cook for another 5-6 minutes, or till the pumpkin strips start to disintegrate.