This is a really exciting dish for me to share because I love making seasonal foods! I had been searching for an autumn style dish that I could make for the months of October & November and last summer my mother-in-law taught me this amazing recipe. Even though it is called "pumpkin," you shouldn't confuse it with the typical orange/Halloween pumpkin. It isn't the same. It's really more of a gourd. Often I would pass by a "calabaza" or "gourd" in the supermarket and wonder what I could possibly make with it. You can usually buy it by the pound, pre-cut. This recipe is a combination of sweet and savory that you can serve as a main or side dish (if you are having guests, it is recommended as a side dish). This is a perfect choice for the western guest, as it has many common ingredients in addition to Pakistani flavors. Did I mention how quick and easy it is to make? It shouldn't take more than 30 minutes.
Some ingredients you will want to have ready are coriander powder, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, red chili powder, tumeric powder, brown sugar, kalonji (this is also known as "nigella seeds") & wet tamarind (concentrate or fresh).
Start by cleaning out approximately 1 pound of a calabaza (or "gourd"). Cut it into 1" pieces with the skin left on. Set aside.
Next chop half of a large onion (or 1 small onion) into small pieces.
Cook on medium/high heat in a medium sized pot in 1/2 cup of vegetable/canola oil until lightly browned.
Add 2 teaspoons of ginger & garlic paste and cook for about 1 minute.
Add 1 teaspoon coriander powder, 1 teaspoon red chili powder, & 1 teaspoon of tumeric powder. Cook for a few minutes.
Add 1 teaspoon kalonji, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, ~1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds (I used 1/2 teaspoon because I really dislike fennel... I think it's really tasty with only 1/2, but some people may prefer a full teaspoon).
Add 1/2 cup of water and 1 teaspoon of tamarind concentrate (or 1 tablespoon of seedless, fresh wet tamarind).
Add calabaza/gourd pieces with 2-3 tablespoons of water.
Cover and cook on low heat for approximately 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. It should be soft after 20 minutes.
Add one tablespoon of light brown sugar and cook for approximately 5 more minutes, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat and garnish with about a 1/4 cup of cilantro leaves. Enjoy with naan or chapati!
(Did you enjoy this recipe?? If so, share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!)