Sunday, January 17, 2010


We have all settled down far far away from farms and fields. But the custom of thankfully offering the bountiful farm produce to the Sun God during the harvest festival is still retained. It takes at least a whole week, and three to four dishes to finish off the entire pumpkin bought for the festival. Pumpkin tastes delicious whether in sambar, raitha or tovvaey. But it tastes most delicious in puli kozhambu, especially after gorging all the special dishes prepared for the feast.

Pumpkin - ¼
Tamarind - 1 big lemon size
Chillie powder - 2 heaped tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Cumin powder – ½ tsp
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Salt - 2 ½ tsp
Jaggery ( grated) - 2 tbsp
Sesame (til) oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
Fenugreek seeds – 1/2 tsp
Split bengal gram dal (Channa dal)- 1 tbsp
Red chillies - 2
Curry leaves - 1 twig
Chopped or slit green chillies - 2
Freshly grated ginger - 1 tbsp
Sesame seeds - 1 tbsp
Rice flour - 1 tsp

1. Peel and cut the pumpkin into big cubes.

2. Soak and extract the tamarind juice and keep it aside.
3. Dry roast the sesame seeds till light pink in colour, and then grind the seeds into a coarse powder.
4. Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan and add mustard seeds.
5. When the mustard seeds splutter, add fenugreek seeds and bengal gram dal, and fry till golden in colour.
6. Next add the broken red chillies and asafoetida.
7. Throw in the green chillies, ginger and the curry leaves.
8. Now add turmeric powder, corriander powder, cumin powder and the chilly powder. Take care not to burn these powders, by immediately adding the tamarind juice before the powders get over fried.
10. Add salt , jaggery and the pumpkin pieces.
11. Add a little more water to cover the vegetable, and cover with a lid and cook.
12. After the pumpkin is cooked and soft (but not mashed), add a paste of rice flour mixed with water and boil for three minutes. This is done to thicken the kozhambu.
13. Lastly add the coarsely ground sesame seeds and switch off flame.

Relish the luscious pumpkin puli kozhambu with hot rice topped with ghee. It is the best accompaniment for Ven Pongal.

- I also use coarsely powdered Yellu Bella ( prepared during the festival to exchange greetings with friends) for garnishing. It lends an awesome unique flavour to the kozhambu.

- If the pumpkin skin is too hard to cut through, then just halve or quarter the pumkin, and cook it in a pressure cooker, by adding one and a half inches of water at the bottom. Cook for three whistles and cool. Cut into pieces and then remove the skin. Add these pieces when the raw smell in the kozhambu has gone, just before adding the rice flour paste.

7 Post your Comments:

S.R.Ramachandran said...

My favourite dish. I like it with rice or chappati. Appa

YOSEE said...

I just love pumpkin kozhambu. The yellu bella garnish is surely an inspired invention !

Vaishali said...

I make a pumpkin pachadi, Maharashtrian-style, that uses far fewer spices. I do love the sound of yours-- especially with tamarind, it must be delicious.

Lakshmi said...

looks spicy and yumm. I have to try it. Between I tried milagu rasam recently and it was good. Thanks for the recipe.

lubnakarim06 said...

Very new to me...looks yummy...

Jayashree said...

I like the combination of pumpkin with tamarind too....The addition of ellu to a kozhambu is something I've not tried so far.

Aruna Manikandan said...

My Hubby loves Puli Kozhambu!!
Haven't tried using pumpkin..
Will soon give a try