It’s been a prolific pumpkin season, Grandma and Maa have been patiently sending dispatches of gorgeous autumnal pumpkin to friends and family, the kitchen too has been relentless in churning out the most delectable of pumpkin delicacies.
Pumpkin stir-fried with nigella seeds and chillies. Sometimes, a handful of shrimps thrown in.
Grandma’s Kumror Chhokka, finger-licking delicious, though the curiosity in me has never stopped wondering why the dish is named so. One of those rare queries of mine for which Grandma for all her sagacity and worldly wisdom has not had an answer.
And then Maa’s Kumror Dhokar Dalna, pumpkin and lentil cakes in a flavor-packed curry, one that Dada and I keep imploring Maa to prepare.
But there’s even more pumpkin !!!
And then the ridgegourd vine too starts to bear fruit.
The butterflies and bees strut around, flirting unabashedly with the delicate flowers, the sparrows and doves have a feast and the squirrels, full of mischief, run riot.
Manikkaka’s temper remains as mercurial as ever, his much-flaunted scarecrows, despite having the most intimidating and ghoulish of faces, fail to keep the visitors at bay.
One of those mornings, Grandma decides to pair the pumpkin with ridgegourd. A slather of mustard paste. And an opulent extravagance of freshly grated coconut.
Jhinge Kumro Paturi, she proudly presents her dish.
Cut to the present.
I potter around my sun-bathed kitchen wondering what to whip up for lunch.
A plump luscious pumpkin rests on the kitchen counter. Golden orange. With flecks of green.
A couple of ridgegourds, pristine green, give the lonely pumpkin company.
That’s when Grandma’s delicious Jhinge Kumro Paturi springs to mind. No second thoughts. That’s what lunch shall be today.
Jhinge Kumro Paturi. A mellifluous symphony of pumpkin and ridgegourd. The sublime sweetness of grated coconut. The piquant zing of mustard paste. The fire of fiendish chillies. A luxuriant drizzle of mustard oil.
This is food heaven !!!!
Jhinge Kumro Paturi (Ridgegourd and Pumpkin with Mustard and Coconut)
- 2 jhinge or ridgegourd peeled, cut lengthwise into two halves and finely sliced
- 200 g pumpkin peeled, cut into thin strips
- 3 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
- 1 tbsp black mustard seeds
- 5-6 green chilies slit
- 3/4 cup coconut freshly grated
- 5 tbsp mustard oil
- 1 tsp sugar
- salt to taste
- 1 tbsp coconut freshly grated, for garnish
- Soak the ridgegourd slices in salt water for 15 odd minutes. Drain the water, squeeze out any excess water and keep aside.
- Soak the black and yellow mustard seeds in warm water for 15-20 minutes. Drain the water, grind the mustard to a smooth paste along with 2-3 green chillies, a pinch of turmeric powder, a couple of rice grains and 2-3 tbsp of water.
- Take the pumpkin and ridgegourd in a bowl. Add the grated coconut, mustard paste, salt, sugar and 3 tbsp mustard oil. Mix well.
- Heat a frying pan, add the ridgegourd and pumpkin along with the marinade. Cook over a high flame for 4-5 minutes with frequent stirring.
- Now turn the heat to low, let the vegetables cook patiently in their own juices. (The vegetables shall release a lot of water, so no need to add any water.)
- Continue to cook with frequent stirring till the vegetables turn tender. (Care should be taken that the pumpkin and ridgegourd do not become too mushy.)
- Adjust seasonings.
- Finish with a generous sprinkle of grated coconut and a hearty drizzle of mustard oil.
- Serve hot with steamed rice.