The word ‘pumpkin’ comes from the Greek word ‘peopon,’ meaning ‘large melon’. It then evolved to ‘pompon’ in French and ‘pumpion’ in Britain. It was in America that it got changed to ‘pumpkin, ‘ as we know today. Technically pumpkin is a fruit, a winter squash from the family Cucurbitaceae which includes cucumbers and melons. Pumpkin is edible in all kinds of form- the leaves, the seeds, the stems, the pulp, the flowers and even the skin in Bengali cuisine. It is equally delicious in all its forms. Use it in curries, soups, roast, Interestingly, pumpkins are 92 percent water. They are a great source of vitamins A and C, potassium, iron, riboflavin and beta-carotene, the antioxidant that gives it the distinctive color.
In this recipe pumpkin chunks are cooked in Bengali spices with a hint of sugar. The dish is savory, sweet and spicy at the same time and is best served with rice or roti/paratha.
PREP TIME:10 mins
COOK TIME:20 mins
YIELDS: Serves 5
- Pumpkin 4 cups, chopped
- Mustard oil 4 tbsp
- Whole red chilies
- Bengali Five Spice (Panch Phoron) 2 tsp
- Bay leaf 2, broken
- Asafetida 1 tsp
- Turmeric 1 tbsp
- Red chili powder 1 tbsp
- Coriander powder 1 tbsp
- Ginger 1 tbsp, grated
- Sugar 1 tbsp
- Flour 1 tbsp
- Ghee 2 tbsp
- Bengali Garam Masala 2 tsp (see below)
- Heat mustard oil. Temper with bay leaf, panch phoron, asafetida and whole red chilies.
- Let it splutter. Add chopped pumpkin. Season with salt, turmeric, red chili powder and coriander powder. Cook it for 5-6 minutes till the pumpkin is slightly caramelized.
- Add a cup of water and cover. Cook till nearly done.
- Add ginger, sugar and flour. Cook till the gravy reduces to desired consistency.
- Add ghee and Bengali garam masala. Serve.
Panch Phoron or Bengali Five Spice is a combination of fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, nigella seeds. Sometimes mustard seeds are substituted with radhuni or wild celery seeds.
Combine equal quantities of fennel, mustard, cumin, nigella and 1/4 th of fenugreek and radhuni if using. It imparts an amazing depth of flavor to a dish.
Bengali Garam Masala
Bengali Garam Masala does not have a ton of spices in it. It is simple and flavorful. It has 3 ingredients and that is all you need.
- Cloves 2
- Cardamom 3-4
- Cinnamon 1 inch
- Grind all the ingredients to a smooth powder in a coffee grinder.
- Store any leftover in a dry air tight container in a dark cupboard or drawer.