Acorn squash with fenugreek seeds and garlic

I have been missing Papa (my dad) for the past few days. Not that I am sad and neither am I out of control happy, I am doing just fine but I am missing him. We talk over the phone whenever we feel like, although after me becoming a busy mom the frequency has decreased but still we talk frequently. We spoke yesterday and maybe I will call him as soon as I finish writing this, but still I am missing him. We were a close knit family of four. Telling everything on each others face close, can’t eat without each other close and sometimes “why the heck do you need space” close. Yes, that close and then slowly we grew up. Both me and my brother moved out of the house then out of town and now out of country to shape our lives. And now when I spend some memorable moments with this little family of my own that I created I miss the time I spent with them. When I go out shopping for a new furniture I miss my Mummy. When I hang up the phone after arguing for the nth time with my brother over a movie or new song, I miss him. And when I take the little one to the park and a gentleman helps his grandkid up the swing I miss my Papa. Whenever there’s some good news or something sad, a new beginning or an end you miss them and specially when you are hundreds of thousands of miles away, you miss them even more.

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.


  1. Hello,

    This is the first recipe I checked in your site. I came across it at a time of great need too. That is the first time I have cooked acorn squash. I found the squash has a little sweetness to it and I didn’t have aamchur powder. So I skipped using brown sugar and substituted aamchur powder with some juice of a lemon. It came out good. Everyone liked it. I will be posting this recipe with these modifications in my blog. I will make sure to give references to your site.

    Thanks a lot.

  2. I am not Indian so i don’t know what it is supposed to taste like. I microwaved the squash and scraped it out. I used fenugreek that had been soaked overnight so it wasn’t bitter. Overall I liked the recipe and it only took about 15 minutes. Next time I will use more fenugreek and turmeric. I give it a 3 1/2 star.

  3. Thanks for the wonderful recipe
    Just wanted to know that how to peel the acorn squash… I tried to cut in hassle, used peeler to peel out the skin but squash seems to be a tough but to crack… Kindly guide

  4. Prerna, Congratulations on your magazine spread !! I have been following your recipes for a while now(well anything with under 5-6 ingredients that is)..My interest is in Jewelry making..I am an – on a break with my baby before she goes to full time school – IT professional and I am using this time to pursue my interest in handmade jewelry- Anyways, this post of yours especially resonated with me.. My dad passed away last year..It was unbelievable, he was like a rock in my life and though I didnt thnk about it much when he was with us(or maybe I did but now that its a poignant memory I feel it more) and we were as close knit a family as we can , my sis, my parents and me, we had tons of fights-over silly things ofcourse and that i still smile about looking at his photograph.. anyway, When a magazine wanted to feature one of my jewelry designs and asked how i should give my name, i made sure my initials were expanded so my fathers name would appear in print..Like u said, my first thought was how proud would he be ! I wish he were here to see that single printed word !! Congrats once again and also on that book deal :)- just this morning I made ur version of Indian noodles(again) and my husband said he is really glad I discovered ur blog;)(the poor guy has had to eat different versions of this before I got ur recipe none of which were edible , it was always either a solid mucky mess, or soupy and salty!)

    Thanks Prerna

  5. This sounds so comforting. I have an acorn squash that has been sitting on my counter for the past week. Now I know what to do with it.

    Congrats on the magazine spread!

  6. Prerna, Congrats on the fabulous Magazine article and beautiful recipe you shared here. Yes, your papa should be very proud! I can ‘t wait to try this recipe on this weekend.

  7. Wow, I can’t wait to make this! I can practically taste it already, with a cool blob of yogurt on top….mmmm…. So glad I came across your blog!

  8. Big congrats on that beautiful feature and love the story behind this dish. Some of my favorite Chinese dishes, the ones that I can make with my eyes closed, came from watching my dad make his favs.

  9. I know what you mean about family…we are also a family of 4, and my brother and I are very close. He has been in Australia studying for almost two years but he returns next month and I am so excited! Thinking of what to cook for him already 🙂

    Like me, he also loves Indian food…so perhaps I will make something from here!

  10. Prerna, your words touched my heart. I am finally in Serbia with my family that I miss so much, but my mom is very ill and my days are spent taking care of her. Just like you I have moved away to college, and away to a different continent, and so did my sister.
    It is very hard to have an ocean separating you from the ones you love, and I relate to you completely, especially watching my daughters grow without close contact with their Serbian grandparents.
    Congratulations on your article! Your father will have every right to be proud of you:)

  11. Lovely! And I so understand – I live far from my mom and miss her when I am not with her and so miss my dear old dad and brother who are no longer with us. I do remember them with food and what they loved and cooked and baked for me. Lovely post. And congratulations on the amazing article! Stunning!

  12. What a lovely heartfelt post. I lived far away from my family for many years and every day I’m grateful that I’ve moved back near them again. I love squash and pumpkin, I’m going to try the Acorn squash recipe as I have all the fixings here except the squash. The magazine article looks great, congratulations on seeing yourself in print.

  13. I don’t know if all the Hakka food I’m learning to cook now is due to my missing my parents, but we cook for the people we love yes? Even when they’re not around to eat sometimes. Congratulations on being published!

  14. This recipe of your father’s looks amazing. Well, He would absolutely be proud of all you have accomplished. It is delicious and very testy dish. I always prefer Indian food in any restaurants(if possible).

  15. A sweet post which makes me miss my dad 🙁
    Congrats Congrats Congrats.. really happy for ya gal!
    squash/pumpkin is one of my fave. too and glad to find another way to make it.

  16. Congrats Prerna. Send me the link to read your work. So proud of you. Hugs to you!! and the pumpkin curry looks so inviting. I am sure you folks will be so proud of you as well.

  17. Congratulations for your article. I understand perfectly what you mean as I live far from my mother, father and sister. I miss them even more now that I have children. Your last two recipes (which I love) call for mango powder. You wrote we can substitute with citrus. I have never had mango powder, but if it is acidic, would sumac do?

  18. Big hug and congratulations on being published. That’s just a start 🙂 And such a warming story about your dad. Like I was telling you reading this post makes me want to go to India right away. I actually don’t look enough with pumpkin. This is certainly on my list to try!

  19. So exciting to see your work being published, Prerna, and so well-deserved! Your photography is just stunning. I’m not sure I’m a big fan of acorn squash, but your photos make me want to be. 🙂

  20. kaddu ki sabji is my fav too and you are right they don’t taste like Indian kaddu.
    Congrats on the published article .. I am sure your dad is proud of you.. your family is proud of you.. keep rocking 🙂

  21. What a gorgeous post, you can see the love you have for your father.

    Congratulations on being published. How wonderful and exciting to see it all in print. I am sure your parents would be so proud.

  22. Thanks for all kind words and the wishes everyone! And also thanks for opening up to me as well.That’s why I love blogging because it helps me get closer to you all 🙂 And parents, gosh you become one you appreciate what they gave you even more and they are missed everyday!

  23. I’m a pumpkin fanatic, all squash in generally, thanks to my dad too. He always brought home some from the local farm stand every night from early summer to late fall. He loved my cooking and I’ve been missing him for the three and a half years he’ been gone now. I want to make this recipe but am allergic to fenugreek, any replacement ideas?

  24. Congratssss and a big hug dear 🙂 I’m proud to be your friend 🙂 You rock and keep it going higher and higher 🙂

    Lovely clicks as ever 🙂 It makes me drool so much.

  25. What a beautiful post. My dad, also a man of simple tastes, loved his pumkin covered in cinnamon sugar and butter. I miss my mom more whenever I travel – in some small way, every trip reminds me of our European adventure together in 1995. And I missed my aeroplane-obsessed dad on Sunday when I went to an aviation museum and realised I no longer had anybody to buy caps, books or souvenirs for. Treasure your parents…
    And big congrats on the publication!

  26. Congratulations on being published. Your parents should be really proud of you. I have been terribly missing my parents and waiting for their visa to get processed so that I can bring them here. And I do the exactly same thing when I miss them, cook my family’s fav meal.

  27. Look at you go! What an honor to be published; congrats! This recipe of your father’s looks amazing. He would absolutely be proud of all you’ve accomplished. 🙂

  28. Bookmarked. This is my MIL ‘s fav go to sabji during important occasions. She cooks it amazingly well. Kaashifal as it is called in the north of India.She never shared the recipe 🙂 Thank you for sharing:-)

  29. How exciting to be published like that! Well done. I often find myself cooking dishes that remind me of my mum when I miss her too.

    The bit about wanting to share good news, new beginnings and so on is beautifully put (and quite poignant to me at the moment – to the point I feel a little tearful at the moment). The best writing is evocative, and this certainly is.

  30. awww….what a heartwarming story and a heartwarming meal to go with it. Lovely! Many congratulations on your magazien feature too. I’m sure your whole family must be very proud of you.

  31. Awww, what a sweet post. I hope you’ll be able to show your father a copy of the article.
    And congratulations on being published!!!
    Oh, and the pumpkin sounds delicious.

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