Red pumpkin does a great job of absorbing spices and mingling with a range of flavors: spicy, sweet, tangy, salty. These traits of the vegetable are put to perfect use in this glorious red pumpkin curry recipe.
- Red pumpkin – 500 grams
- Tomatoes – 2
- Jaggery – 2 teaspoons
- Salt – to taste
- Chaat masala – 1 teaspoon
- Coriander powder – 2 teaspoons
- Cumin powder – 1 teaspoon
- Red chili flakes – 1 teaspoon
- Turmeric powder – a pinch
- Panch phoron* – 1/2 teaspoon
- Asafoetida – 1/2 teaspoon
- Mustard oil – 1 tablespoon
- Fresh coriander leaves – for garnishing
*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. The name literally means "5 things used in tadka (phoron in Bengali i.e. tempering in hot oil)".
If you do not have panch phoron on hand, substitute it with its constituent spices, as close to those five as possible.
Peel the red pumpkin. Chop into 2-cm cubes.
Make a smooth paste of these dry spices – turmeric powder, red chili flakes, coriander powder, cumin powder – with a tablespoon of water.
Heat a tablespoon of mustard oil in a skillet or kadhai. When the oil reaches smoking point, set heat to low add panch phoron. Let the fenugreek seeds in the panch phoron darken (this will take barely a few seconds), add asafoetida powder, stir and immediately follow with the spice paste.
Cook for 2 minutes, stirring regularly, till the spice mix starts to bubble thickly and turns a deeper shade.
Add chopped tomatoes. Cook on medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring regularly.
Now tip in the red pumpkin cubes. Stir well – the spices should coat the pumpkin cubes evenly. Sprinkle salt to taste. Cover and cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring every other minute.
Sprinkle jaggery powder, mix well and cook till the pumpkin cubes are done to your liking. Take red pumpkin curry off the heat and stir in chaat masala.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
Serve red pumpkin curry with chapatis or pooris.