As the season slowly begins the shift from cold winter to spring, the chill in the air continues with short bursts of bright sunshine. The body craves, warm bowls of flavour enriched dishes for comfort.
Gourds are vegetables which survive through the cold months and are an ingredient which is much used during harvest season. Yellow pumpkins are rich in antioxidants and have a both sweet and savoury note when cooked. The flesh is creamy and makes for a delicious puree .It can be paired with garlic, chillies, ghee, salt, and fresh herbs of choice. It is also so tasty with toasted pumpkin seeds, cashew nuts and also puffed jowar for crunch.
Take a large roasting pan for the oven and smear it with a little ghee.
Remove the skin from the garlic and scoop out the soft cooked pulp.
Add the pumpkin, carrots ,garlic and potatoes into the pan.
Add salt, black pepper, turmeric powder and mix it well using the fingers.
Add 3 Tbsps or more ghee and coat the vegetables with it. Cover the top of the baking tray before placing in the oven.
Place it inside a low to medium heat oven and let it cook on low heat for 45 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
Let it cool
Place all the vegetables in a blender jar, add 1 tablespoon of the toasted cashew nuts, ginger ,1/4 cup of water and blend to a smooth puree. If you prefer it chunky then can also do a coarse puree as well.
Take it out of the jar and add it to a deep kadai or pan. Add the remaining water and stir it over low heat for 5-6 minutes, until all the ingredients are heated well.
Add in the finely chopped mustard greens and stir well.
Serve in individual bowls.
Garnish the top with toasted cashew nuts, pumpkin seeds , popped jowar kernels , an extra sprinkling of black pepper and a small drizzle of ghee.
If the oven is not an option, these vegetables can also be cooked in a tandoor or slow roasted in big iron pans on the tava. But do it on a low flame as it should not burn. Give the vegetables plenty of space to roast in the pans otherwise it will tend to give out water if it is crowded together.
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“Treat season” is something every home takes advantage of. Ovens come alive with the aromas of warm ,woody spices like cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Dried fruit , nuts and seasonal fruit are dunked in syrup, mixed into batter and added as a garnish. A home made sponge cake with all these flavors adds to the warmth of a table.