Tag Archives: pumpkin

Clear-out-the-vegetable-basket Soup

I had a small chunk of pumpkin, two carrots, half a red bell pepper, a leek and five and a half tomatoes left over in the fridge from last week’s shopping at Carrefour.

So I have made soup for tonight’s dinner with all of that (and there will be enough left over for tomorrow as well, with these quantities) ,with the addition of fresh basil leaves that I went out and got this morning from the “Primeur de Fruits” in Tournamy.

The method  is the same as for the tomato and basil soup.

Pizza and soup with basil, anyone? That’ll be two “Oh Yay !!!”s for sure.

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Vegetable Khichdi

This was tonight’s dinner, with yogurt and avocado slices in lieu of salad.

As I said to one of the school mums some time ago, converting the girls’ to avocado – we are not there yet with Shri though- has been one of the big culinary victories of the last year. They love it the way it is enjoyed best IMO –  au nature, or with a dressing of a little lime juice and sometimes dried basil flakes.

So that “salad” helped add interest to the meal tonight because  khichdi is not one of their prefered foods.

Vegetable Khichdi

3/4 cup of rice

2/3 or 3/4 cup of dhuli masoor daal (red lentils)

200 grams of diced pumpkin

5-6 tablespoons of frozen peas

1/2 tespoon of freshly grated ginger

1 medium sized onion, chopped fine

1 medium sized tomato, chopped fine

2 tablespoons of sunflower oil, 1 tablespoon of melted ghee

1/4 teaspoon each of the five paanchphoran spices (a little more of the fennel seeds)

3/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder

1/2 a teaspoon of coriander powder (optional)

1 and a half tablespoons of fresh green coriander leaves, chopped

Wash and soak the rice and daal separately for 2-3 hours.

In a pressure cooker, heat the oil and the ghee and then add the paanchphoran spices in the order suggested here.

Add the onion and fry till it starts to turn a golden color. Now add the pumpkin, and fry both together for a few minutes till the onion starts to turn golden brown and the pumpkin starts to soften and break up.  Now add the ginger, fry for half a minute, then add the tomato and fry the mixture till the oil starts to appear on the sides. Now add the dry spices and the peas and fry for a few minutes. Add the rice and daal after draining them of the water in which they were soaked, season with salt, pour in 4 cups of water, mix everything well  and cook for as long as required for most of the water to be absorbed and for the rice and daal to cook well (with my pressure cooker, this requires about 5-6 whistles).

Once the cooker has cooled enough for the lid to be lifted off easily, stir everything together once and garnish with fresh green coriander if possible.

Add more ghee to individual servings if you like.

Though I absolutely love the much simpler moong daal khichdi which is a staple of Gujarati thalis everywhere, I quite like this one too and it is such a convenient and quick one-pot-cooking type recipe.

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Filed under Easy One Pot Cooking, Quick Meal Ideas, Rice-Pulavs,Biryanis,Baaths

Tomato, Pumpkin & Broccoli Soup

When we arrived at our friend Jenny’s home for lunch one Sunday not long ago, I saw that she had made broccoli and Stilton cheese soup to serve as a first course to the parents.

It struck me then that all this time as I have tried to introduce broccoli to my family’s diet – unsuccessfully, as none of us have managed to develop a taste for it -I have never considered adding broccoli to soup. I usually just steam it to add to either salads or pasta and once in desperation even cooked it as a  subzi ( the way one makes cauliflower in India) after I ate it in this form at my sister-in-law’s home.  All those attempts having failed to endear this vegetable to us, I had resigned myself to the fact that this is one healthy vegetable our family would have to do without.

But soup with broccoli seemed like an intriguing new idea so I requested that Jenny serve some to the children too, as I wanted to see if my girls would take to this vegetable better in this form.

As it turned out, the girls didn’t exactly love it. They finished it mainly because I told them it would be impolite not to do so. But, significantly, they did not turn up their noses at it completely either, which encouraged me to think that I could probably get away with blending broccoli in to soup too, camouflaged among other vegetables.

So that is what I have done more than once since that Sunday, and the soup I made for dinner yesterday was the nicest of those recent attempts. The girls actually said that they liked it, until I spoilt it somewhat by telling them, feeling rather smug, that one of the vegetables in the soup was broccoli. Indira immediately started to look like she wasn’t pleased at being duped, and said,  “So that’s what those tiny green bits are !” in a somewhat vexed voice.

But I do believe they’ll eat it readily enough again;  they did like it sufficiently until the moment of truth.

The recipe is much the same as for Indira’s favorite vegetable soup, except that here I replace the red pepper with broccoli.

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Tomato,Pumpkin & Broccoli Soup

1/2 a small head of broccoli

about 200 gms of pumpkin

1 leek

2 pods of garlic

3 medium-sized tomatoes

3 tablespoons of olive oil

salt to taste (I add about 1 and 1/2 tsps)

Separate the broccoli’s florets, then cut these  in to smaller pieces.

Peel and dice the pumpkin.

Wash and chop the tomatoes.

Discard the hard part of the leek, and finely chop the rest, after washing it carefully. Chop the garlic too.

In a pressure-cooker, warm the oil on a low heat and then add the leek and garlic. Sweat these down gently for 4-5 minutes, making sure not to let them  brown or burn.

Next, add the pumpkin and the broccoli, cover the cooker, and cook everything together for some time, turning frequently, till the vegetables start to glisten and look soft. Then add the tomatoes  and cook till the tomatoes start to break down.

Add the salt, about 500ml of water, and pressure-cook the vegetables till they are quite soft.

Blend the mixture, adding some boiled water if the soup seems too thick.

Stir in a  little unrefined brown sugar ( I added about 1 1/2-2 tsps) if the soup tastes too tart on account of the tomatoes.

A little touch of cream in each bowl is nice, too.

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Daal with vegetables

This is a recipe that evolved from the daals and khichris I used to cook for the girls when they were babies.

The format was usually the same – a couple of vegetables (one green, the other red or yellow) fried with some onion,garlic, sometimes ginger, and tomato, and then cooked together with one of the yellow daals. For a khichri I added rice to that combination.

Of the various combinations I cooked together then, the one I have continued to make over the years is of red lentils (masoor) cooked with spinach and squash/pumpkin.

This is one the girls eat without demur, and the leftover portion is very useful for making dough for puris and paranthas that are full of taste.

I also like the idea that I don’t have to cook a subzi separately, when I cook this daal for a meal,since there is a decent amount of vegetables in the daal.  So yesterday, when I made this daal for dinner, I made only some plain rice and peanut raita to go with it.

Daal with Vegetables

1 cup of masoor (red lentils), washed, and soaked for an hour or two

75-100 gms of very finely chopped fresh or frozen spinach

100-150 gms of finely diced pumpkin/butternut squash (or 2 medium sized carrots)

1 large tomato, finely chopped

1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or grated

1/2 tsp of cumin seeds

1/2 tsp of turmeric powder

1/2 tsp of coriander powder

1/2 tsp of garam masala (optional)

salt to taste

3 tbsp of sunflower oil

In a pressure cooker, heat the oil, add the cumin seeds, and fry the onion till it starts to turn a golden color. Add the garlic and the pumkpin, and fry till the onions start to turn brown and pumpkin starts to look quite soft.

Add the tomatoes, and fry till they are soft. Now add the spices, and fry for a couple of seconds.

Add the spinach and the salt, and fry for 3-4 minutes. Now add the daal, 3-4 cups of water, mix everything thoroughly and pressure cook  for 7-8 minutes, or till the vegetables are quite soft.

Add a little boiled water to thin the daal, if it seems to thick, and a tsp of ghee for flavor, if you like.

If you plan to make puris or paranthas with the leftover portion, do thicken the daal over heat first, else you’ll end up using too much flour to knead the dough.

let me know if you try/like this, since this recipe is truly my own 🙂

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Autumn’s coming ! Pumpkin Raita

In another sign that summer is on it’s way out, that very autumn vegetable – pumpkin – has started to appear in the vegetable aisles.

To give them their due, the girls do eat it without much fuss even if I make  petha (a sweet and sour preparation that I grew up on and love) with it, and it blends so easily in to soups too.

But they definitely like it best when I make a raita with it. And as has become Indira’s wont, when I cook these days something she likes, yesterday too she said to me, when I made this raita for dinner ,”PLEASE tell me how you made it, I REALLY would love to make this when I am bigger”.

So here’s the recipe, for my chef-in-the-making.

Pumpkin Raita (serves 4)

250 gms of yoghurt

150-200 gms of pumpkin

3 tablespoons of dessicated coconut(optional; the raita is nice even without this ingredient)

salt to taste

a pinch of asoefetida, 2 tsp of sunflower oil, 1/2 tsp of mustard seeds, and 4-5 curry leaves for tempering

( optional -1 dried red chilli for the tempering)

1 tablespoon of finely chopped green coriander

Peel and chop the pumpkin, then pressure cook it till it is soft enough to be mashed.

Add the salt to the yoghurt and whisk gently with a spoon or fork. Heat the oil in a small pan. Add the mustard seeds and when they pop add the curry leaves (and the red chilli if you are going to use one) and fry for a few seconds. Add the asoefetida once you have taken the pan off the heat (or the asoefetida might burn) and pour this tempering in to the yoghurt. Mix it in, as well as the coconut. Now add the mashed pumpkin, and the coriander and mix everything thoroughly.

As with most recipes I post, this one too benefits, I feel, from being made a little while ahead of eating, so that all the flavors mingle.

It goes quite well with pulavs, and helps up the vegetable quotient of a meal like last night’s when I only made a curry with black-eyed beans, and paranthas with dough made from the previous day’s leftover daal and aloo palak.

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