Monday, August 31, 2020

Pumpkin Curry / Kabocha Squash Kootu

Published August 30, 2020. Updated: Oct 7, 2022

This is a simple and delicious veggie curry made with kabocha squash, perfect to serve with rice or flatbreads. Oil can be used instead of ghee for tempering to make a vegan version of this curry. 

Frozen cooked jackfruit seeds are available in the frozen section of Indian groceries. Sambhar powder is a spice mix that we use to make a veggie stew, sambhar with a tamarind base. The spice mix can be homemade or store bought. This spice mix is also available in Indian groceries. Jackfruit seeds or any beans are optional. If not using, just adjust the salt and sambhar powder according to taste. For flavor variation, any variety of pumpkin can be used.

Sometimes at the same point, you have so many veggies ready to be picked and the best thing to do is to share with friends and family. One of my friends, Y-B, shared her organic produce. She had a couple of Kabocha pumpkins. They cook pretty fast and they are very very tasty. After thinking about what and all I could make with this pumpkin, I decided to make the sambhar podi kootu that my mom makes with varied veggies that she had. I especially like the kothavarangai (cluster beans) - palakottai (jackfruit seed) kootu. Since I had the jackfruit seeds on hand (thanks to my neighbor HA for the yummy jackfruit), wanted to make this version with the pumpkin. Maybe another day would share the exact recipe of the cluster beans kootu. I added some blackeyed peas to increase the protein content. The curry is equally good with roti and rice with a dollop of ghee.    

I am also linking this to Sundays on Silverado, What's For Dinner, Share The Wealth, Full Plate Thursday,  Thursday Favorite Things, and Wonderful Wednesday.

4-6 servings

Kabocha squash - 1.5 cups, diced
Salt - 1 tsp
Black-eyed peas - 1/4 cup
Toor dhal- 1/4 cup
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Coconut - 2 tbsp
Water -2 and 1/4 cups
Sambhar powder - 1.5 tsp
Jackfruit seeds - 8 to 10


Ghee/oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/3 tsp
Split urad dhal - 1/3 tsp
Cumin- 1/3 tsp
Hing - 1/8 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Cilantro for garnishing


Pressure cook the dal and black-eyed peas with 1/2 cup water each. Along with it, pressure cook the jackfruit seeds if using.

In a saucepan, add a cup of water and diced pumpkin and cook. In two minutes, the pumpkin would be crisp-tender. 

Add the cooked jackfruit seeds, black-eyed peas, salt, turmeric and simmer for a couple of minutes.

Then add the sambhar powder, continue to cook for 2 more minutes. The raw smell would have gone.

Then add dhal and coconut. Adjust the consistency by adding 1/4 cup water. Continue to simmer for 2 more minutes. Switch off the flame and keep aside.

In a pan heat ghee. Add red chilli and mustard. when it splutters add the split urad dhal, cumin, curry leaves, and hing. 

When golden remove and add to the curry. 

Mix, garnish with cilantro and serve with rice or roti.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Bajra Bottle Gourd Roti

Gardening is a great outdoor activity. It reduces stress, improves your mood, beautifies your home, and gives back in return too. It is one of the most rewarding activities. When you grow veggies, harvesting them gives immense happiness. A friend of mine shared bottle gourd seeds. It grows very easily and doesn't require a lot of care. A trellis is sufficient. If you have flowering plants, bees are there to help you or you need to hand pollinate them for effective production. And you get a good yield. Some of them grow to 4 ft. With all the bounty, it is good to share the produce as well as happiness. Recipes too.

With the bottle gourds getting harvested continuously, I should say there is a good regular supply. So I have been making quite a few recipes with the bottle gourds. Bottle gourds are full of water, so keep that in mind when you cook them. This roti is easy to make. Bajra being very nutritious makes this roti a very healthy alternative to the rice flour roti. 


Makes 10, 6 -7-in rotis

 Bajra flour - 3cups

Salt - 1.5 tsp

Green chilli - 1.5 tsp

Ginger - 1/2 tsp

Cumin - 1.5 tsp

Cilantro - 3 to 4 tbsp

Bottle gourd - 1.5 cup, grated

Onion - 1/2 cup, finely chopped

Water - 2 tbsp

oil - 8 to 10 tsp


Add all the ingredients to bajra flour. 

Mix and set aside for 5 minutes. 

Bottle gourd has more water content and the water will leach out after adding salt. Mix once again. Add 1 to 2 tbsp water and knead into a smooth soft dough. 

Divide the dough into 10 balls. Grease a parchment paper with oil.  Take one ball of dough at a time and spread into a 6-7 in flat roti by gently pressing and spreading with your palm. Apply oil to your palm so that the dough doesn't stick to your palm or fingers.

Heat a cast iron griddle. Spread a 1/4 spoon oil. Slowly, flip the parchment paper with the roti facing downwards onto the pan.  Slowly, remove the parchment paper. This is an easier technique similar to using banana leaves. Add oil to the edges and to the center of the roti. 

Cook for 3 minutes on a medium flame. Gently flip the roti, add a little oil, and cook for about 3-4 minutes, until it is done cooking. 

Continue the same with the rest of the dough.  Serve hot with yogurt, chutney, or raita.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Masicha Keerai

Masicha (mashed) keerai (greens) is yet another simple and delicious side that can be served with roti or rice. It is one of my childhood favorites. Every kid will surely love this as this is not spicy and, when mixed with ghee rice, it is the most yummiest greens curry. It is also healthy and easier to make. Soft greens like amaranth and spinach work well for this as they mash easily. 

I used the amaranth greens (I used a mix of mulaikeerai and araikeerai we call in Tamil, or thotakurra in Telugu) that I grew in my backyard. Though gardening is a time consuming and tedious activity, the rewards are wonderful. Yummy, delicious, organic greens from your own backyard is a great plus!! Gives you the utmost satisfaction. I used the tender stems too. My favorite way to enjoy this is with rice and a dollop of ghee, though it is tasty with roti too. Since this is not spicy, it pairs great with vathalkuzhambu or karakuzhambu. 


4-6 servings

 Amaranth (Keerai) - 4 cups, finely chopped, packed

Salt - 3/4 tsp

Water - 3/4 to 1 cup


Ghee - 1 tsp

Hing - 1/8 tsp

Mustard -1/2 tsp

Cumin - 1/2 tsp

Split urad dhal - 1/2 tsp


In a heavy bottom saucepot, add the chopped amaranth leaves. Add water and cook. In about 5-7 minutes, the amaranth leaves would have cooked.

With a masher, mash the leaves a little. Add salt, simmer for a couple of minutes. Keep aside. 

In a small pan, melt the ghee. When it is hot add the torn red chilli, mustard seeds. When it splutters, add split urad dhal and, cumin. Add hing and pour it into the mashed amaranth. 

Mix and serve. 


A little hing can be added initially too (when you begin cooking the leaves). That gives an enhanced taste. My mom cooks like that and that's my favorite.

If in case, the curry is a little watery, add 1/2 tsp - 1 tsp rice flour to thicken the keerai. Mix without the formation of lumps.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Tropical Smoothie Bowl

The past week was very very hot. This week too is continuing to be hot. With the tormenting heat, something cool or cold feels refreshing. Made some smoothies to beat the heat. I had all the tropical fruits in hand and hence made this smoothie bowl. Scooping spoonfuls of ice-cold smoothie for breakfast is great as the morning temperatures are close to 90 degrees F. This can be a had any time of the day. This vegan too, as I have used coconut milk and my protein powder is vegetarian.


Makes 4 servings

 Mango - 1 cup, chopped, frozen

Pineapple - 1 cup, chopped

Banana - 1, frozen

Protein powder - 1 scoop

Almond flour - 1/2 cup

Rolled oats - 1/2 cup

Coconut milk - 1/2 cup

Navel orange - 1, peeled, chopped

Apple - 1 cup, chopped

Flaxseed powder - 1 tbsp


Fruits, granola, nuts, etc.


Blend everything till smooth. Top with your choice of fruits, nuts, and granola.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Plum Jam

The purple plum from my friend's garden is one thing that I would for. They are so sweet when they are ripe as if they are dipped in sugar or honey. This year too, I got a box full. After enjoying the fresh fruits for a few days, my mind was set on making the jam for two reasons. One, the vibrant purple color of the fruit was pushing me to make this jam. The second reason being, my interest in making jams or preserves with a nominal amount of sugar. I don't want the sugar-loaded jam. Also, there is no need to remove the skin of the plums. Actually, the skin helps in getting the perfect gel consistency of the jam.

The jam has a vibrant color that's inviting you to relish your meal with it. Look at the color!

It tastes great whether served with bread or with roti.

makes 1.25 cup

Plum - 3 cups, cut into eighths or so
sugar 3/4 cup


In a heavy-bottom pan, add the plums and sugar. Heat it on a medium flame stirring now and then.

Once it starts to thicken, stir often to prevent scorching at the bottom. In about 40-45 min, the jam would have reached the gelling consistency. Switch off the flame and let it cool.

Transfer to airtight containers and refrigerate.