This is a Keralan dish. The original recipe demands black-eyed peas, but I couldn’t find any, so substituted chickpeas, which in fact are a better source of protein and goodness all round. The famers’ market is stuffed full of all sorts of different pumpkins and squashes. I chose 2 gourd-like longish pale and dark with green stripes ones (slightly corduroy in texture). So young that I didn’t need to peel them. Any sort of squash or pumpkin will do, but better if you don’t need to peel them.
Serves 4 as a main dish
1.2 kg squash or pumpkin
1 tbs garam masala
salt and pepper
2 tbs coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 green chillies, halved – I used one birds-eye and one larger one, deseeded (optional),
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 x 400 g tin of chickpeas
150g heritage tomatoes cut into slices
3/4 inch fresh turmeric peeled and diced, or 1 tsp ground turmeric
1 x 400 g tin coconut milk
10 fresh curry leaves
Preheat the oven to 200 C and line a large baking try with silver foil. Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out seeds and then slice into crescent shaped wedges. Put in a bowl with the garam masala, a good glug of rapeseed oil and salt and pepper. Mix well and then place wedges side-by-side on the tray and bake for 30 mins or so until crispy on the outside and soft inside.
Meanwhile put 2 tbs of coconut oil in a wok. When hot add the mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, add the chills and the onion, stir fry until the onion is golden and soft, then add the garlic. Cook for another couple of minutes, then add the chickpeas and stir well. Add the tomatoes, stir fry for another few minutes until the tomatoes are soft.
Next, add the turmeric, salt and pepper and the coconut milk. Then tip the roasted pumpkin into the mix, stir and cover. Leave for 5 minutes or so until heated through.
Now its ready!
The curry leaves can either be added with the coconut milk or added as a tarka. To do this put a couple of tbsp oil into a small frying pan over a medium heat. When hot throw in the curry leaves and let them crackle and turn translucent. Then put on top of the finished dish.
Serve with rice, naan and/or some raita. My guest pronounced it totally scrumptious.