Umesh is a freelance writer contributing his creative writings on varied subjects in various sites and portals in the internet.
Pumpkin is a common vegetable found across the globe. It is used in making dry vegetables, vegetable curries, soups, and many other preparations. In different places different spices are used to prepare the pumpkin dishes bringing in their local avatars.
Most of the pumpkins are slightly sweet in taste so it is obvious that the dishes prepared with pumpkin will have a sweet taste inherently present in them. That is the reason why some people prefer to use mango powder or tamarind paste in pumpkin dishes to offset that sweet taste.
Pumpkins are generally available in market in two forms. One is the green and tender one and other is the ripened dry yellow one. The dry yellow one can be kept for a long time for preparing a dish later when pumpkin season is over. It is common in villages to store dry pumpkins like that for a long time.
I have used microwave oven for cooking this dry vegetable and preparing the dish but one can use the conventional cooking mode like gas stove or hot plate also for preparing it. Those who are not much familiar with the microwave cooking can go to the end of this article and read the notes on basic cooking techniques in microwave oven.
Pumpkin is a very nutritive vegetable as it contains good amount of beta carotene which is changed to Vitamin-A inside our body. Half cup of pumpkin is sufficient to provide us our daily need of Vitamin-A. In addition to that, pumpkin provides us Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Iron, Potassium, and Folate.
Pumpkin is also a good source of antioxidants which are very useful for us for keeping us healthy.
Though we do not use the pumpkin seeds in the vegetable preparations because of the roughness of the seed covers but the seeds are otherwise loaded with Zinc, Copper, Selenium, and Magnesium which are essential for our good health in various ways. Dry seeds can be peeled off and eaten for those benefits.
The quantity of ingredients shown below will suffice for 3-4 persons when taken during the main meals alongwith other food items.
The cooking time is 25 minutes.
- Pumpkin - 300 gram.
- Coriander powder - 1 tsp.
- Turmeric powder (optional) - 1/2 tsp.
- Cumin seed - 1/2 tsp.
- Carom (Ajwain) seed - 1/4 tsp.
- Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp.
- Mango Powder - 2 tsp.
- Dry mint leave powder - 1/2 tsp.
- Fennel (saunf) seeds - 1/2 tsp.
- Jaggery or sugar (optional) - 1/2 tsp.
- Red Chilli whole (optional) - 1 number.
- Cooking oil - 1 tbsp.
- Salt to taste.
If you have got a whole pumpkin then wash it and wipe it dry. Cut and take out a piece about 300 grams from it. If 300 gram pumpkin is available in lose in the market then one can buy it like that also instead of buying a whole pumpkin. Cut this 300 gram pumpkin into small pieces each about 1 to 2 inches long. Keep aside.
Cut the red chilli (optional) in 2-3 pieces.
Take a microwave compatible glass bowl. Pour cooking oil in it. Add Coriander powder, Turmeric powder (optional), Cumin seed, Carom (Ajwain) seed, Asafoetida, Mango Powder, Dry mint leave powder, Fennel (saunf) seeds, Red Chilli pieces (optional), and salt. Mix all these spices with cooking oil using a spoon or spatula.
Keep the glass bowl inside microwave and cook for 2-3 minutes in first or second level heat. Take the bowl out and add pumpkin pieces to it. Add half cup of water. Do not forget adding this water. It is a crucial step in the recipe. Mix well.
Now keep the bowl in microwave and cook for 10-12 minutes. It is advisable to pause the cooking about 3 minutes ahead of end time and check for consistency and if it appears too much dried then sprinkle a little water on it.
If enough water is already there in the dish then the cooking time can be enhanced by another 1-2 minutes to make the dish as dry as required.
Now add sugar or jaggery (optional) to it and mix well. The dish is ready.
Dish is ready
The prepared dish will yield about 6-8 servings. The dish can be served directly on the platter. It goes well with bread, chapati, or rice.
One can have some sauce or chutney like Quick Apple Chutney with this dry vegetable. That is a tasty combination.
1. Some people like to relish this vegetable in a paste form and for that it has to be cooked for about 3-4 minutes more alongwith a few tsp of water and after cooking, the dish is to be meshed with a metal spoon or spatula.
2. This vegetable is generally prepared solo but if required 1 or 2 potatoes can be added.
3. A little quantity of capsicum (about half to one number) can also be added that brings the specific flavour of capsicum in that.
4. Mint gives a very nice taste to this dish. But if someone does not like the mint flavour then it can be skipped in the dish.
5. Some people like black pepper and clove also in this dish. If so then 1/4 tsp of black pepper powder and 3-4 cloves would be suffice in this preparation.
Pumpkin is a low calorie vegetable and only thing that is giving calories in this dish is the cooking oil. So, each serving of this dish gives about 30 to 35 calories only. Reducing the quantity of cooking oil will reduce this calorie value further.
Pumpkin is a commonly available dish and can also be consumed in the form of dry vegetable. In India it is very popular and used in various ways in local vegetable cooking.
Microwave cooking basics
Microwave is a very useful gadget for our kitchen but many people use it only for heating the food. With some basic learning and a little practice it can be used to make the full fledged side dishes like dry vegetables, curries, puddings, cake etc. While learning about microwave cooking I came to know and was actually surprised to find that a cake takes only 5-6 minutes in microwave to get prepared as compared to 40 minutes in traditional OTG.
Microwave ovens generally come with 5 ranges of heats - very high, high, medium, low, and very low. For cooking the vegetables generally very high or high range is preferred. The only problem associated with microwave cooking is that sometime if the moisture or water in the vegetables is less then their chances of getting charred or burnt increase. So, an adequate quantity of water is to be added before keeping the vegetables for cooking in the microwave oven. As a rule of thumb half cup of water will be sufficient for preparing the dry vegetable for 3-4 people. In case of curries there is no problem because sufficient water can be added and there is no danger of charring or burning. Please note that for leafy and high water content vegetables like spinach, cabbage, tomato etc, the water quantity to be added beforehand can slightly be reduced.
As I have mentioned earlier also I again reiterate that for dry vegetables it is necessary that we check the dish 2-3 minutes before the end time for any unwanted too much dryness in the dish so that we can add some little water at this stage to avoid burning or charring of the material.
One main advantage of microwave cooking is that one can use little quantity or even no quantity of cooking oil in it.
Basically microwave cooks the food by heating the water present in the vegetables as well as the vegetables. If water dries up the heat will start burning the material whatever is there inside it. So monitoring the moisture or water in the dish during cooking is an important activity in microwave cooking.
The lowest heat range in microwave can be used to keep the food hot while the low heat can be used for thawing the frozen items.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Umesh Chandra Bhatt