I was excited about the good news that my first story to a magazine made it to print. Sashay magazine contacted me a few months back, as a matter of fact they did when I was in India with my family and asked if I would want to do a story for them. I was thrilled with the offer and said yes. So when last week their summer issue came out and I for the first time held my work in my own hands and saw the whole 5 page cover story, all in glossy print, my jaws dropped! Everything looked gorgeous and first thing that came in mind was, Papa would have been proud!
So when you miss someone what do you do? You try to do what they like and when you are a food blogger you end up cooking what they like. That’s what I did, I cooked what Papa likes and Papa likes kaddu ki sabji (pumpkin). My father is a simple man and very simple things in life make him happy. Indian pumpkin cooked with fenugreek seeds, garlic and chili with a little sweetness and a little tang make him happy.
After quite a while I realized that the pumpkin we get in India is very different in taste, shape and size from the ones we find in the US. And after a lot of trial and error I finally found a variety of squash that comes closest to the taste. Acorn squash is what you need if you want the taste of Indian pumpkin. There are a lot of ways pumpkin is cooked in India, this is the way my grandmother taught my mom and then I learned from her. Its very simple with just a few ingredients you can easily find at home and it tastes pretty good. My mom stresses in the use of mustard oil which I always say is to Indian food (after ghee of-course) as olive oil is to Italian. But I used olive oil because that’s what I and a lot of us can easily find in our pantry. If you can find aamchur (dried mango powder) then fabulous or else you can use lime/lemon juice as well. So here’s the recipe.
1 medium size acorn squash (skinned, seeded and cut into 1/2 cubes)
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 dried whole red chili
1 tbsp freshly minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp aamchur powder (dried mango powder) or 1 tbsp lime/lemon juice
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tbsp oil (mustard, olive or vegetable oil)
Heat oil in a wok or thick bottom pan. Add fenugreek seeds.
As they start to sizzle add garlic and whole chili (broken into pieces)
When garlic starts to brown add acorn squash. Add turmeric.
Mix it all together and cover with a lid stirring occasionally until its half cooked.
Once squash is half cooked, uncover and add salt.
Now cook it without the lid until squash is cooked through.
At one point squash starts to get mushy so go easy while stirring or it will break. Not that there will be any change in taste but it just won’t look as pretty. So just try not to mash everything up while stirring.
Once its cooked through add aamchur (or lemon/lime juice), sugar and coriander powder. Mix everything well.
Cook for another minute and then turn the heat off.
My mom serves it with hot rotis and lentil soup. You can even use it as a spread on your bread or serve it with rice.