Sunday, August 19, 2007

Pumpkin Kootu

Amavasai is an auspicious day in South India. But one of the most important tasks carried out on this day is taking out 'drishti' or as they say in Hindi 'Nazar Utarna'. Taking out the 'evil eye' is big business. So you have all businesses big and small, all shops both big and small, all offices, all places of work diligently purchasing the best pumpkins they can find, making a small cut in it, stuffing it with Kum Kum. At noon, they light a bit of camphor on top of this and take it all around the building and as a grand finale, smash the whole thing on the road in front of the office/ place of work...

The point now is not to educate all my readers on what drishti actually is but to wonder what happens to the road? By the evening one finds all the scooterists and cyclists trying to manoeuvre their way though the pulpy remains of all these smashed pumpkins. And the next morning the folks at Onyx are busy sweeping up everything.

Now I always wonder, how many kilos of kasi halwa or pumpkin kootu we can make with all these wasted pumpkins? Point to ponder, right?

Now onto food....

I first tasted pumpkin kootu at a wedding here in Chennai. The mild taste and flavors just blew me away. It goes so well with rice.. Finally asked around and learnt to make it for myself. It is one of the simplest dishes to make, easy,quick and really tasty and healthy as there is hardly any extra oil used in the preparation.

Now for the recipe:


750 grams White Pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder
salt to taste

Grind to a masala:

1/2 Cup Coconut
1 tablespoon jeera ( cumin)
4 green chillies
1 teaspoon peppercorn
1 1/2 teaspoon raw rice

For tadka or Popu

1 teaspoon oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon urad dal ( black gram)
10-12 curry leaves
1 teaspoon Til (sesame seeds)
1/4 teaspoon hing (asafoetida)
3 red chillies


Peel the pumpkin and take out the seeds. Cut into small cubes.

Put the pumpkin, salt and turmeric in a pan along with 2 cups of water. Boil till three fourths done. Add the masala paste and cook till fully done and it thickens nicely.

Heat oil add the tadka/popu ingredients one at a time starting with the mustard seeds. Pour on top and serve hot with steamed rice and ghee.


Srivalli said...

nice post...thats a point to ponder..infact if we can avoid that system of breaking pumpkin will be very good....your kootu looks very nice...


Shyam said...

I love I love I LOVE white pumpkin kootu! I wish i could just get that vegetable here... but I dont, so for now I can only drool over yours! :)

Cinnamon said...

Lovely recipe :)
Looks delicious!!

Padma said...

Great recipe using pumpkin, coz I am not a pumpkin lover, my DH is though.
We do believe in Drishti(orthodox)..

Latha Narasimhan said...

Simple kootu that tastes great! Thats what I like about our southindian cuisine.Kamini, I also read some where that pumpkin is good to ward off kidney related diseases.

Laavanya said...

That's a nice looking Kootu Kamini. I love pumpkin too.. mostly make Olan with it though.

Sharmi said...

I would love to make this kootu. looks real yum.

Gita said...

Love kootu. What about some other kootu recipes?

Murty said...

thanks for the recipe...tried it out...tastes very good.
One suggestion though - try grinding the masala with a bit of curds or add curds to the kootu towards the end (to suit the andhra taste buds)

Deepti Sanesi said...

Thanks Kamini for the tasty recipe.
I tried adding curds while making the masala. That was good.