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it's the end of fall!

“It’s the end of Fall :( ” That’s what my darling hubby has been saying since the beginning of Fall! :D He gets very sad when it’s time to say goodbye to Summer. But I, on the other hand, just love Fall.  I love the smell of the cool, crisp air and the changing color of the leaves; I love to wear my warm sweaters, flaunt my beautiful pashminas and take out the cozy blankets that have been packed away; I love the Indian and American festivals that season brings along with it  and last but not the least, I love the seasons eatings – the apple ciders and the pumpkin spice!

This year, Diwali came and went just in time for Halloween and the festive treats went on all week long! Honestly, I am not much into Halloween’s trick-or-treats but I’m definitely into the lots and lot’sa bright, orange pumpkins that Halloween brings along with it! (Here’s an interesting article on Halloween & Pumpkins)

 

Here’s a couple of my pumpkin concoctions…..

 

Pumpkins are a popular vegetable in the US and you see them everywhere, especially in Fall, which is the biggest pumpkin harvest season. Pumpkins are used in sweet or savory dishes and around this time of the year, you will find millions of recipes featuring pumpkins on Foodnetwork and in a lot of restaurants as well. Pumpkins are one of my favorite vegetables (or fruit?!) and till I moved to the US, I knew only a few ways to fix them. So when they are in season, I make it a point bring them home and make a couple of my favorite recipes. One way I make pumpkins is Bhoplyachi Bhaji (Pumpkin Curry) and the other way is Bhoplyache Bharit (Pumpkin Raita or Salad).

 

 

Bhoplyachi Bhaji

(Pumpkin Curry)

This is a very simple and easy way to make pumpkins. It’s a one pot concoction – fill it, shut it, forget it (only for a little bit!). Cubed pumpkin is added to a spicy and sweet curried broth and simmered till it gets soft and mushy. The sweetness in the broth is due to jaggery or sugar and the spicy kick is due to the “Maharashtrian Goda/Kala Masala“. Crushed roasted peanuts gives this curry a little crunch and cilantro adds a fresh flavor and a beautiful contrast green color. Be it roti or steaming basmati rice, this hot’n'sweet curry is a great accompaniment!

Serves 2

2-3 tbsp oil (canola, sunflower, corn, vegetable)

1/2 tsp mustard seeds (rai/mori)

1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)

1 tsp turmeric powder

1-2 pinches aesofoetida

3-4 cups (3-4 handfuls) pumpkin cubes, 1″x1″ (This will be about 1 lb of pumpkin. To cut the pumpkin, run the knife along the outer, hard skin. Cut only the orange part into cubes and discard the outer skin and the inner seeds)

salt, to taste

1 tsp red chilli powder (use 1/2 tsp if you don’t like it that hot)

1-2 tsp Maharashtrian Goda/Kala Masala (Some Indian stores in the US carry this masala. If you just can’t find it, you can use the regular Garam Masala)

1 tbsp jaggery powder or 1-2 cubes jaggery cubes(If you use Garam Masala, please use 1 tsp sugar instead)

2-3 tbsp roasted peanut powder (coarsely grounded) (See concoctions101)

1/4 cup, grated coconut, fresh or frozen thawed

1-1½ cup water

fresh cilantro/coriander, finely chopped for garnishing

Heat oil in a frying pan or kadhai with lid (use some kind vessel with a lid). Add mustard and cumin seeds along with the turmeric powder and pinch of aesofoetida.

When the seeds splutter, add the pumpkin cubes and sauté for a min. Add the coconut, the peanut and jaggery powders and season with salt, goda/kala masala and red chilli powder. Add water, mix well and cook covered for 15-20 mins on medium low heat, stirring once in a while, till the pumpkin is well cooked.

Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve hot with rotis or steamed rice.

Check out similar recipes of Pumpkin Curry on A Cook @ Heart, Evolving Tastes, Anna Parabrahma, OneHotStove & Mad Tea Party

 

 

Bhoplyache Bharit

(Pumpkin Raita/Salad)

Pumpkin is quite an unusual ingredient for making a raita, but I am sure every Maharashtrian has had this raita atleast once in their lifetime! Its quite a popular side dish on the Maharashtrian menu and it ranks high on the nutrition charts.

Soft, mushy cubes of pumpkin are added to the cool yogurt and then garnished with a hot tempered oil that is seasoned with cumin seeds and asofoetida. Adding a few pieces of chillies gives this raita a spicy kick and garnishing with cilantro gives it a fresh green flavor.  Try this sweet and creamy raita, I am sure it will be your favorite pumpkin concoction as well!

Serves 2

2 cups (2 handfuls) pumpkin cubes, 1″x1″ (This will be about 1/2 lb of pumpkin. To cut the pumpkin, run the knife along the outer, hard skin. Cut only the orange part into cubes and discard the outer skin and the inner seeds)

water, for cooking

2-3 tbsp oil (canola, sunflower, corn, vegetable)

1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)

1-2 pinches aesofoetida

1-2 green chillies, roughly chopped

1 cup yogurt (any kind)

salt, to taste

1/2 tsp sugar

fresh cilantro/coriander, finely chopped for garnishing

Add the pumpkin cubes to a pot of boiling water and cook till they are soft and mushy. Alternatively, cook them in the pressure cooker.

Once cooled, drain the water from the cooked pumpkin and set aside. Cooked pumpkin refrigerates very well for 3-4 days.

Add yogurt, salt and sugar to the mixing bowl and set aside. Heat oil in a small frying pan or kadhai. Add cumin seeds along with a pinch of aesofoetida and pieces of green chillies. When the seeds and chillies splutter, turn the heat off and pour the hot tempered oil over the yogurt in the mixing bowl. Combine all the ingredients well and add the pumpkin cubes. Mix gently so that all the pumpkin gets evernly coated with the yogurt but its okay if a few of the pumpkins get mashed up; it adds to the thick, creamy texture of the raita.

Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve on the side of rotis with subzi or khichadi or pulav or even parathas.

 

Check out Vaishali’s website Happy Burp for her variation of this recipe and a cute pumpkin story that I had heard in my childhood!

 

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