Monthly Archives: September 2016

World Palate Recipes: Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Vegetable Curry

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The fall season is almost here, leaves are changing colours and pumpkins are abundant! Soon Halloween and the pumpkin carving fun will be upon us. Pumpkins come both with orange and green coloured skins. They are rich in fiber and vitamin. Being versatile, pumpkins are easy to cook up many cuisines from savoury to sweet recipes, be it soup, curry or even desserts!

pumpkins

Pumpkins. Courtesy: Wikimedia commons /pumpkins

Just yesterday, I attended a ladies meet. There was plenty of home made food, laughter and non stop chatter. Amidst the fun we exchanged some recipes and enjoyed the delicious pumpkin curry made by our hostess. Crunchy skin and roasted seeds added texture to the sweet, spicy curry.

Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Vegetable Curry

Pumpkin curry with roasted seeds

Pumpkin curry with roasted seeds

Ingredients:

350 – 400 gms of orange pumpkin (keep the skin)

2-3 medium size onions

1-2 green chillies

salt, water, oil as desired

For Gravy:

50 gms of khus khus seeds

50 gms dessicated coconut ( fresh preferable)

2 tsps. sesame seeds

1 inch ginger

3-6 garlic cloves

For Tempering:

1 spoon cumin seeds (roasted for full flavour)

1 tsps. turmeric powder

curry leaves (optional)

coriander leaves for garnish

roasted pumpkin seeds (remove outer skin)

Pumpkin vegetable ingredients

Pumpkin vegetable ingredients

Method:

Wash and cut the pumpkin into small cubes with skin intact, remove the pith and seeds. Keep the seeds aside on paper, later roast them in oven or heated pan and cool. Keep aside.

Chop the onions, garlic, ginger, chilli and coconut and grind into fine paste. Lightly roast the sesame seeds and khus khus. Cool and powder them.

Heat 2 big ladles of cooking oil in heavy bottom pan or wok. Splutter the cumin, add turmeric powder and curry leaves. Add fresh paste of onion -ginger and lightly roast till soft brown, the strong aroma fills the kitchen – Beware! Add the seeds paste and some water to keep mixture from browning.

Pumpkin cut in cubes

Pumpkin cut in cubes

Add the cubed pumpkin, salt and just enough water to cover the curry mixture. (if you wish add a pinch to sugar…to bring out the sweetness). Cover, gently cook the curry, till pumpkin is just tender and bit crunchy.

Take off the gas stove, pouring cooked curry into desired dish. Garnish with chopped coriander, roasted seeds that add to the crunchy texture.

Enjoy this delicious curry with contrasting flavours. Serve with rice or Roti /Naan / Pita bread.

Pumpkin Curry garnished with roasted seeds

Pumpkin Curry garnished with roasted seeds

For another Pumpkin recipe see here.

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer

 

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Festive Market: The Elephant headed Ganesha Idols

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Come September, streets of Mumbai and Pune in western India, as well as many other cities prepare for the most loved festival Ganesha Chaturthi or Vinayak Chaturthi.  The elephant headed God Ganesha, (known by several other names)  is prayed to for prosperity and wisdom.  Amidst loud chants of ‘Ganapati Bappa Moraya’ the colourful idols that once occupied rows of shelves on street shops are lovingly bought and carried home to the altar.

Weeks before the festival day, street markets begin cleaning, making stands, preparing clay, pre booking orders, contacting artists and helpers. Soon the frenzy of activity heats up, as the festival draws near.  Idols are traditionally made with mud or clay, giving them a brown colour. During the prayers idols are smeared with sandal wood or turmeric paste. These eco-friendly idols thus make for easy visarjan or dipping into flowing water after the festival. However, Plaster of Paris (POP) is the new preferred material. It is cheaper, lighter, but certainly harmful to Nature as idols cannot dissolve in water.

Mud Ganesha idols

Mud Ganesha idols

Artists arrive to major cities, sometimes from rural homes, the festival provides a big income and a platform created by co-operative organisations. It takes many weeks of patience, dedication and exact materials and temperatures to prepare the idols. The whitish grey or brown idols are left to dry on street pavements (or shop kilns). Once dry, colours transform them magically! Turmeric yellow, leaf green, vermilion red, glittering gold, peacock green…how  beautiful the rows of Ganesha idols look standing on the street stands. And why not add some glitter, beads and fancy ornaments for a festive aura? Prices vary according to size and decorations ranging from Rs. 200 to 2 crores!

With great pomp and music, the super size idols are carried to community halls, temple foyers and public gatherings. Smaller idols bought by family members, make their way home covered by traditional silk cloth.

Super sized Ganesha idol

Super sized Ganesha idol

Now, Ganesha is known to have a great liking for food, just look at his big tummy! There are many mythological stories to support this. Festival markets are filled with plenty of fresh fruit – bananas and pomegranate being favourite. Besides garlands of flowers, rose petals, marigolds, banana stems and leaves, lotus flowers occupy every inch of floor space in the market.

It’s a frenzy of hectic activity! Loud noises of people bargaining, soft swishing of women in sarees, young children begging to choose a special idol, bright lights add to the human frenzy, screeching cars and vehicles passing by. Suddenly rises a loud chant from among the crowd ‘ Ganapati Bappa.. Moraya’ ..Salutations to the God.

All is in abundance, all in good spirit.

Flower seller

Flower seller

When a special guest comes home, the house ( or community hall) needs extra decorations and twinkling lights. Another visit to the markets before the last day – decorative lamps, earthenware pots, trinkets, bells, twinkling lights and ….just some fancy stuff!

Suddenly… an eerie quietness descends on the street and shops, on the Ganesha Chaturthi day. Action moves indoors. Prayers, social meets and abundance of festival food.

The markets will have to wait for another year.. till Ganesha visits again.

Ganesha idols in shop

Ganesha idols in shop

Have you celebrated this festival? What did you buy from the market? Do share your comments.

For another blog on Ganesha see here.

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer