Okay. That was twee even by my skewed standards, but alas I cannot resist the kitsch.
I have finally seen the other side of whatever germs Keifel brought home last week and am back on schedule. Tomorrow in my class, where I am actually teaching cooking not just restaurant management, we are covering spices and making chili, my dad’s chili to be exact, and some pumpkin curry. The chili doesn’t actually have that many spices in, it being kind of purist, comparatively.
The pumpkin curry had a dry run and I have a few words of advice to go along. Use only starchy not waxy spuds. They need to soften into the curry to be good. Also get a pie pumpkin of some size because once you get the stem and the seeds and the peel off… there isn’t much left if it’s a teeny one and they can be stringy if they are too small. Trust me on this one.
1 pound pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes (halve, scoop and nuke 2-3 minutes to soften to peel)
1/8 cup tightly packed dried tamarind pods
1 cup very hot water
3 tablespoons oil
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
¼ teaspoon nigella or onion seeds
¼ teaspoon aniseed
3 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon sugar
salt to taste
Wash the pumpkin cubes and drain well. Soak the tamarind pods in the hot water for 10-15 minutes. Remove the pods, reserving the liquid, and extract the pulp by mashing in a bowl with the back of a spoon. Strain to remove seeds and string.
Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek, nigella seeds, and aniseed and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the potato chunks and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the pumpkin cubes, stir well and sauté for 4-5 minutes.
Stir in the chili powder, turmeric, coriander, sugar and salt to taste, and continue cooking for 5-6 minutes. Add the tamarind pulp and some of the reserved liquid, to taste, then cover and cook until the potatoes are tender.
Note: If dried tamarind pods or pulp are not available, substitute 1 tablespoon molasses and 3 tablespoons lime juice mixed together.