Sunday, July 9, 2017

Parangi Pinju Chutney - Baby Pumpkin Relish

 Mami (my maternal aunt) comes up with enthralling facts and stories behind the traditional and rural recipes she shares with me. Since Mama (maternal uncle) was a Sugar Technologist  she lived with him in serene villages surrounded by paddy, sugarcane fields and sugar factories until Mama's retirement. They lived in a traditional home with a 'mutram' (central courtyard open to the sky) surrounded by sturdy pillars. The backyard sprawling with lush green plants and vines yielded fresh organic vegetables for daily consumption. Mami utilized the produce to the maximum by cooking delicious traditional dishes. Some times pumpkins the size of oranges dropped off the vine well before reaching maturity. When I was under the impression that they would land up in the compost pit, Mami  cooked them (tender peels included) into a delicious finger licking Parangi Pinju Chutney. She smiled at the surprised look on my face and said ' Nothing goes to waste! This is the done thing here!'

Baby pumpkins in a Pumpkin Patch near Portland.

Due to the nonavailability of a backyard garden or a pumpkin vine which dropped off Parangi Pinjus, I have used a piece of the store bought Pumpkin to make the chutney for this post!


Pumpkin (Peeled and chopped) - 1 bowl
Sesame oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Split black gram dal - 1 tbsp
Red chillies - 4
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Salt - 3/4 tsp
Tamarind - the size of a small marble
1. Heat one tsp of oil and splutter mustard seeds.
2. Add the split black gram dal and roast till it becomes golden in colour.
3. Add the red chillies and fry till they become crisp.
4. Add asafoetida and remove the seasoning into a plate when it emanates a very pleasant aroma.
5. Heat the remaining oil in the same pan and add the chopped pumpkin pieces.
6. Saute for a few minutes, sprinkle little water and cover and cook on low flame stirring now and then.
7. Switch off flame when the vegetable is cooked and allow to cool.
8. Grind the cooked pumpkin with salt, tamarind and the fried red chillies into a smooth paste.

9. Add the remaining seasoning and blend coarsely.
Parangi Pinju Chutney is ready to be savoured with hot rice.

 It can be used as a dip for various snacks. It also makes a delicious bread spread.

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