Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pumpkin/Squash Bharta Recipe and notes

From Hema:

for now here is the Squash/pumpkin dip:

Pumpkin/Squash Bharta (eaten as a minor item alongside a main vegetable and chapatis... but acts beautifully as a dip with pita chips, veggies)

1. Use a squash or pumpkin that is used for pumpkin soups.
You need 1 1/2 cups of steamed mashed pulp. Should be fully cooked.
2. Yogurt.... add per taste.... enough to make it creamy is fine.
3. mustard seeds 1 tsp
4. asafoetida and turmeric 1/4 tsp each
5. curry leaves (available at Indian stores) about 5-6 is enough
6. cumin seeds (1/2 tsp)
7. finely chopped coriander
8. 1tbs of oil... you could use olive... but make sure not to smoke it when you heat it.
9. 1 deseeded, spicy green chilly, cut in half. optional.

How to:
Mix the steamed, mashed squash/pumpkin pulp well. Usually well steamed squash/pumpkin does not have any stringy bits... but if there are any lumpy/stringy bits then remove them. Add salt to taste and set aside.

Heat a tbs of oil in your tiniest saucepan or pan with walls. Add mustard seeds and allow them to split (pop). This should happen quickly if the oil is hot (not smoking) then add cumin, turmeric and curry leaves. Add the deseeded chilly. Switch of the heat quickly at this stage. Now add the asafoetida. The chilly can explode a bit sometimes so take care. You have now tempered the oil according to indian cookbook terminology. But i think we've infused the oil with the flavors of the spices.

Chili notes:
The chilly can be removed at this stage if you dont want it to continue spreading its heat in the dish. But as it is deseeded it won't be much. I've even used haberneros and its added a different flavor... a nice twist.

Now add the infused oil (along with the seeds, curry leaves etc...) to the Pumpkin/Sqash mix. Mix it up well. Allow it all to cool to room temperature.

Now add the whisked yogurt a little at a time to the mix. Make it as creamy as you want without loosing out on the flavor of the pumpkin/squash. Add salt per taste. Add the chopped coriander on top.... for color contrast and flavor. Or you can mix it in too.

Can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days. Best served by taking it out of the fridge an hour before you need to serve it. So the temperature is closer to room temp. Serving it very cold makes it taste less spicy.

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