Local pumpkins are now prolific at farmer’s markets and my Whole Foods. They are tasty, vitamin-packed treasures that are as versatile as you care to make them. Add in some of the last of my backyard chilies and yellow cherry tomatoes, and you’ve got a dish that’s downright good for you.
Tonight I yearned for some Indian food and so I spiced up a leftover half of roasted pumpkin to accompany the fish I baked. With the new addition of mustard oil to my pantry and now this dish, I even felt like I might be breaking some sort of law. And after dinner there was a very distinctive warmth (not spicy heat) in my mouth that couldn’t be attributed to anything but that mustard oil. Who says cooking is boring?
Curried Pumpkin, serves two hungry people, originally inspired by a dish by Aktar Islam of Lasan
2 t mustard oil (or grapeseed oil, or other oil with a fairly high smoking point)
1 t whole fennel seeds
1 t whole cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
1/4 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c small cherry tomatoes
1/2 small sugar pumpkin, roasted, skin removed and cubed
1 heaping t tumeric
4 fresh curry leaves, finely sliced
In a medium skillet, heat the mustard oil over medium high heat until almost smoking. Add in the fennel, coriander and bay. Cook for two to three minutes, stirring regularly until browned. Add in the onion and garlic and cook for two to three minutes, stirring all the while. Reduce heat to medium. Add in the tomatoes and cook for two minutes, stirring well. Add in the pumpkin and about a cup of water and the tumeric. Season with salt. Stir to scrape off all the brown bits on the bottom of the pan, add in the curry leaves and reduce heat to low to simmer for about five minutes.
Serve with fish spiced with a heaping teaspoon each of curry powder, prepared mustard and brown sugar as well as a pinch of salt. Spread paste on fish and bake.
Playlist included Maps by Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs (who met at Oberlin). This is, I think, the coolest performance that ever was on the MTV Music Awards. And it makes me feel old. And wise.