Kumro can be delicious too !!!
That is what I looked forward to the most, while moving out of my homely comforts. Ohh! how I dreamt of waking up late, sipping on to a hot cup of coffee, leave for office, have some lunch from that corner café, finish work, reach home and finally order in some dinner..those inexpensive street foods like egg rolls, chicken cutlets fish chops, chicken butter masalas, mutton sheek kebabs, bread pakoras, aloo tikkis, samosas, kachoris all seemed so terrifically delightful.
But, few days into my well fantasized daily life, every restaurant's curry, be it paneer, fish, chicken or mutton tasted exactly the same, all cooked in a swimming pool of oil and spices. I realised, although pretty reluctantly, that my intestines would soon give up and I would die of constipation if I don't include any vegetables in my diet. Obviously it would take a lot of efforts on my part to gather the courage to call up my Maa, ask for recipes and convert them into fast and easy versions viable for our lives. Firstly, I would have to listen to an hour long lecture on how the total generation is going to waste away because of these pricey restaurant business instead of investing the money for the future !! Secondly, after much convincing that I am already out of that phase, she would start about the necessities of home cooking and why I did not start early. So instead, I started trying out recipes myself, digging my brain about the main components of the veggie dishes from Maa's kitchen, tasting and trying, taking suggestions from friends and the internet which eventually led me to a magical world of flavours. I discovered a new side to myself - a knack for this art form. Next when my parents came to visit, I happily surprised them with some Bangali dishes and hoped to finally meet up to their expectations.
Alas, merely satisfied with my change in attitude, they did not seem much happy about the taste of it and Maa had to come in with their expertise to achieve that perfection, which would make me and my husband fight over something really simple, a Kumror Chokka.
Kumro / kaddu / pumpkin, a humble vegetable with load of nutrients is a very common sight in every Indian household in summers. Associated with Halloween in the Western world, kaddu does not ignite a single child when served for lunch in this part of the earth. But as mothers have been saying this since ages, ' these are the things which you will crave for when I am not around', these recipes come in handy when you're in your thirties and already bored of those dhinchak smoky parties !!
Kumror chokka has a sweet, nutty texture, mixed in with some potol (pointed gourd ) and aloo ( potato, something which no one can completely ignore ). When served with some luchi ( puri ) / paratha can remind you of your Hitler mom's sentimental messages about how she wishes to feed you with every home cooked dish possible whenever you visit home and how she would teach you everything she knows about food. Therefore a small tip for all of you reading this. Have faith on your Maa, to get that authenticity of ghar - ka - khana. Its never about the measurements or the ingredients. You just need to observe her methods and study her reactions when she goes onto do her job so perfectly.
- Pumpkin / Kumro / Kaddu - 750 grams approx., pealed and diced.
- Potato / aloo - 1 medium sized, diced.
- Potol / pointed gourd - 4, peeled and cut lengthwise.
- Bengal gram seeds ( 1/2 cup ) - soaked overnight and pressure cooked till soft.
- Methi seeds ( fenugreek seeds ) - 1/2 teaspoon
- Hing ( asafoetida ) - a pinch
- Dried Red Chilli - 2
- Ginger - 2 inch ( approx. ) - grated
- Turmeric powder - 1.5 teaspoon
- Cumin / zeera powder - 1/2 teaspoon
- Garam Masala powder - 1/2 teaspoon
- Salt ( according to taste )
- Mustard oil - 1 tablespoon
- Gur / Sugar ( according to taste )
- Heat the oil in a kadhai and add the methi seeds along with a pinch of hing and dried red chilli. This step flavours the oil.
- Once the seeds start browning a little, put in the grated ginger. Saute it for around a minute. Once the raw smell of ginger goes away, add the potol and aloo pieces and stir everything together. Wait for around 2 minutes on medium high flame with occasional stirring.
- Next in turn are the pumpkin pieces. Once everything is mixed in, cover the kadhai and leave it undisturbed for around 5 minutes over low flame.
- Open the lid and throw in the boiled Bengal grams. Toss everything together.
|In goes the Bengal grams|
- Its time to add the spices. In goes the turmeric, cumin powder and salt and everything is mixed in. Once we add salt, the vegetables release water which will help in the cooking process.
- Cover up with the lid and wait for the vegetables to be cooked well over low flame. It would take around 10 - 15 minutes.
- After you open the lid, add the garam masala powder along with the gur / sugar. Remember this dish is supposed to be a little bit on the sweeter side so be generous with the gur / sugar.
|Check whether vegetables are cooked through|
|Pinch of garam masala and gur to sweeten|
- Once the gur / sugar melts away, give a final stir and you are ready with Kumror Chokkha.
This nutty Kumro goes very well as a side dish. It can also be a star dish when accompanied with some fulko luchis ( puris) or parathas !! Enjoy the deliciosness..