Sunday, 23 March 2014

Yellow Pumpkin with nuts and seeds / Nagpur style Bhakar Bhaji

Pumpkin with dal

For those busy days when time seems to fly, I depend heavily on simple stir-fry with large gourds such as snake gourd, yellow pumpkin, winter melon. These can be easily chopped and peeling them is optional.
There are many ways of cooking yellow pumpkin in Indian style, and this recipe from Nagpur is one of the tastiest ways of doing so. It is cooked with the spices and onions and finished off with the addition of roasted nuts like dry coconut, white poppy seeds, cashews. The oil of choice as for most Maharastra style dishes is peanut oil, but any other unflavoured cooking oil can also be used. This is usually served on the side with Indian rotis such as various millet breads or chappati, phulkas or with rice and any  preparation like  varan or dal. I have come across 2 recipes for this Nagpuri pumpkin in my Marathi cookbooks, I will be sharing those versions too.

1. Cooking using both Instant Bhakar bhaji masala and Instant dal mix. (You can make this without dal mix)
2. Cooking using only nuts and seeds.
3. Cooking using both roasted nuts and seeds and pressure cooked dal.

Pumpkin without dal

 If you are planning to make with Instant masala and Instant dal mix see this recipe in my other blog- Cooking without kitchen

  • 2 cups peeled or unpeeled yellow pumpkin (unpeeled ones are tasty if cooked over low heat for long time)
  • 1 onion
  • 5-6 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 green chillies (optional)
  • 2 tsp jaggery (brown sugar)
  • 2 pieces kokum or 1/2 tsp tamarind piece
  • 1 tsp red chilli pd
  • 1 tbsp Instant dal mix- 3 or 2 tbsp split pigeon peas (tur dal)
  • Nuts and seeds mix-  
                                   1 tsp white poppy seeds (khus-khus), 
                                   1 tsp aniseed (saunf), 
                                   1 tsp white sesame seeds (optional).                                    
                                   1 tsp dry coconut
                                   2 tsp  unroasted cashew pieces or charoli  
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds (dry methi seeds)
  • 2-4 cloves (lavang)
  • 1 or 2 red chillies


1. Soak the dal for 1/2 hour and pressure cook them on slow heat till you hear 1 whistle.
2. Preparing nuts and seeds mixture-

Roast each separately white poppy seeds (khus-khus), roasted dry coconut, roasted aniseed (saunf),  white sesame seeds (optional). Since each has a different roasting time I prefer to roast them separately. Transfer them into a single bowl after each of them are roasted. Some people love to grind these roasted items. But I like it whole. Next add unroasted cashew pieces into this and keep aside.

  • Heat a non-stick pan and pour 1-2 tbsp oil.
  • Throw in the mustard seeds and when they pop add cloves, fenugreek seeds (methi dana) and red chillies. Fry for only few secs. Some times the cloves will pop so partially cover the pan when tempering.
  • Next in goes the garlic, fry these till slightly golden.
  • Add chopped onions and green chillies, fry till they are translucent.
  • Add chill pd and turmeric and fry for few secs.
  • You can now add pumpkin pieces, stir and roast them for few mins and then pour 1 cup hot water.
  • Add salt, kokum or tamarind, jaggery.
  • Cover and cook till the pumpkin becomes dark in shade and cooked.
  • Add the cooked dal and cover and cook again for 5 mins.
  • Lastly add nuts and seeds mixture and cover and cook for 2 mins.
  • It will taste good if you eat it after 20 mins, by then all the flavors will blend together giving you an aromatic curry.
The first version is ideal for busy days and for new cooks.
Adding dal gives a nice velvety gravy. 
Try both versions.
Add water and adjust the consistency of the gravy.

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