A decade ago, I could relate pumpkin only to Halloween for that was the day we friends look forward to make an escape from the daily routine of work. A year of preparation and planning might go into it, but at the end of the trip, we know we are there for each other. That feeling is amazing, wanting us to be midst our friends right now whom we both miss here. Always our Halloweens were devoid of pumpkins. Instead we will be in faraway places tasting momos, reshmi kebabs or even kappa puzhukku. Never we fancied eating pumpkin cakes or muffins. I can become a little crafty at times, but I have never carved a Jack-o-lantern or bought a whole pumpkin for that matter.
A year ago, in the name of Abbey's baby appetite, I did pumpkin mash. She used to love it. Pumpkin made a reentry into our house with Abbey's new found love and it has seen its glorious days in the form of payasam, mousse, Sambhar, and very rarely mathanga erissery.
Now since my ladybird self promoted herself to banana breads and shawaamas (Shawarma), it is difficult to sell pumpkin mash to her. Mostly I keep pumpkin as a last option to cook, then obviously it starts to crinkle. Thinking a little pumpkin won't hurt, I start throwing it left and right into a pot of sambhar, aviyal, or whatever curry is getting cooked and it quietly does its job of sweetening a dish.
When Mommie was here, she cooked this aviyal for us and it appealed to us Kerala Aviyal lovers.
Given any day, my vote goes for Kerala Aviyal. Again, there are days, where we look for simplicity of one vegetable being chopped and cooked. This aviyal for me exactly is for those days, when I don't have to deal with tons of chopping and loads of veggies, yet extravagant looking curry and taste is always a welcome in my house.
Mathanga/Pumpkin - 1/2 kg
Green chillies - 3 Nos.
Tamarind - 1 gooseberry sized
Grated coconut - 1 cup
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Pearl onions - 6 Nos.
Chilli powder - 2 tsp
Coriander powder - 2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Cut pumpkin into square pieces.
Soak tamarind in water and squeeze out the tamarind water.
Grind coarsely grated coconut, cumin seeds, pearl onions, chilli powder, coriander powder, and turmeric powder. Keep this aside.
In a kadai, add pumpkin, ground coarse paste, green chillies, tamarind water, salt and water needed to cook it. (Don't mash pumpkin). Once pumpkin is cooked, swivel around the kadai with your hands, instead of using a spoon. Towards the end, add curry leaves, pour little amount of coconut oil. It is good to go with a steaming bowl of rice.