“What! Not another pumpkin recipe! This Saffron Trail blogger has gone bonkers.”
I’m sure, you, my dear reader, are exclaiming thus, on seeing my new post alert in your mailbox.
But I have a couple of good reasons for this.
1. Pumpkins are good for you. (okay, you already knew this)
2. Autumn is pumpkin season in many parts of the world, and as a blog, I am trying to cater to a global audience 😉 (clears throat)
3. But the most important reason is that once you taste this dish, you are going to want to make this again and again.
I have had the good fortune of tasting some delicious dishes from Telugu cuisine thanks to my neighbour aunty in Hyderabad, for the short time that I lived there. It was quite unlike the mass produced Andhra meal thaalis, which I don’t care for much.
A few weeks ago, I dropped into a neighbour’s house to borrow something. It was before lunchtime and I was surrounded by a cloud of incredibly delicious aromas. It felt like a rasam was simmering, but I could tell from the aroma, that there was something more to it. Shamelessly (yes, we food bloggers are like that) – I asked her, “What’s cooking?”. “pumpkin chaaru,” she said, and seeing my expressions, she herself offered me a bowlful to drink. It was ab.so.lute.ly mouthwateringly good. The balance of spicy-sour-sweet-salt was perfect and I (again, shamelessly) served myself some more. I asked her for the recipe (well of course), but it was her Telugu sister-in-law’s recipe and she said she would have to get it from her, as the cook had prepared directly from her instructions.
I am still awaiting the recipe. But I couldn’t wait to prepare the Pumpkin Chaaru, one BIG pot full and devour it all by myself. I have tried it thrice since then and I feel the current recipes comes very close in taste to what I tasted at my friend’s place.
Pumpkin Chaaru - A sweet sour spicy soup
- 2 tsps cooking oil
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 chillies dried red
- pinch asafoetida a
- 1 cup yellow pumpkin cubes
- 2.5 cups water
- 1 tsp tamarind paste
- 1 tbsp jaggery crushed
- 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- In a medium sized deep pan, heat the oil.
- Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. After the mustard splutters, add curry leaves, crushed garlic, dried red chillies, asafoetida, and stir for 30 seconds.
- Add the pumpkin cubes (small sized), and toss well.
- Add 2.5 cups water, bring to a boil. Reduce flame, cover and allow to simmer for 5 minutes, until the pumpkin pieces are almost cooked.
- Add tamarind paste, jaggery, salt, rasam powder, black pepper powder and turmeric powder and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
- Serve hot as a soup or with steamed rice.