pumpkin curry

Pumpkin curry recipe

By Swasthi on August 29, 2022, Comments, Jump to Recipe

Pumpkin curry recipe – South Indian style pumpkin kootu made with red pumpkin, lentils, coconut, spices & curry leaves. This curry tastes delicious and is also super easy to make. It needs only pantry staples & goes so well with plain rice or roti. This is a no onion & no garlic recipe. So it is usually prepared for a meal during festivals.

Though pumpkin is a seasonal vegetable it is available all-round the year. It is a low calorie veggie and is nutrient rich. In Indian cuisine, pumpkin is used to make a lot of dishes like curry, halwa, paratha, pulusu, sambar and even kheer.

This recipe is my mom’s version of making kootu. We make kootu following this method with different veggies like ash gourd, mixed vegetables or any other gourd varieties.

So you can also make this dish with mixed veggies like carrots, beans and peas.

In South India, there are different ways of making kootu. The method I have shared here is very specific to our region. Usually dal is cooked to smooth and then the ground spice mixture is added to the veggies and dal.

But we make it with just the ground spice mixture. We do not cook dal and add to the dish. So this is much simpler and tastes very aromatic.

If you are new to cooking with pumpkin, then these details will help you.


I have used the red pumpkin here. It is called as gummadikaya in Telugu, kaddu in Hindi, parangikai in Tamil. I have used a pumpkin like the one you see in the picture. I suppose similar variety works well for this recipe.

You can also make the spice powder/ paste ahead and refrigerate. It keeps good for 3 to 4 days.

More pumpkin recipes
Pumpkin pulusu
Dal Pumpkin
Pumkin halwa
Pumpkin kheer

pumpkin curry recipe

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Pumpkin curry recipe

Pumpkin curry recipe

pumpkin curry made with ground spices and coconut in a kootu style. No onion and garlic are used. Makes a good side dish to accompany rice, chapathi, phulka or poori
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

to roast and grind

  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds (daniyalu)
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon chana dal (bengal gram)
  • 1 tablespoon urad dal (skinned black gram, optional)
  • ¼ cup fresh coconut (or thick coconut milk, refer notes)
  • 3 to 4 dried red chilies
  • 1 inch cinnamon piece (ceylon cinnamon or ¼ inch cassia)

for seasoning/tempering

  • 1 pinch hing /asafoetida
  • 1 red chili broken
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • tablespoon ghee or oil

other ingredients

  • 2 cups pumpkin red, cubed / gummadikaya / kaddu
  • 1 large tomato (½ cup chopped finely)
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • ½ to 1 tablespoon tamarind paste (optional if needed)



  • On a low to medium heat, dry roast red chilies, chana dal and urad dal till deep golden & aromatic. Make sure lentils are not burnt but they should be roasted evenly so they make the dish flavorful. Transfer to a plate.
  • To the same pan add coriander seeds, cumin, cinnamon and lightly roast until fragrant.
  • Don’t let them burn. Cool all of these completely and powder them in a blender to a fine powder.
  • To the same jar, add coconut along with little water and blend to a smooth paste. If you do not own a powerful blender, let the mixture soak for about 30 minutes in water and make a fine paste adding more water as needed.

How to make pumpkin curry

  • Heat a pan with ghee or oil on a low flame.
  • Add mustard, cumin and red chili. When they begin to splutter, add curry leaves and hing. Set aside little of this seasoning for garnishing. I set aside few curry leaves and red chili along with very little mustard and cumin.
  • Add tomatoes, salt and turmeric. Fry the tomatoes till they turn soft, mushy and dry. If needed cover and cook, you can even sprinkle little water if your tomatoes are hard.
  • Next add pumpkin cubes and fry stirring for about 2 to 3 minutes. Ensure the tomatoes turn completely mushy and dry before adding pumpkin.
  • Pour 1 to 1½ cups of water to the pan and bring it to a boil.
  • Add the ground paste & mix well.
  • Cook it on a low flame till the pumpkin is tender. If needed you can cover and cook. Don’t overcook, pumpkin turns mushy. Keep stirring, the mixture tends to stick at the bottom due to the dal. If required pour more water to adjust the consistency.
  • Add tamarind and mix well. Check the salt and tang. If you like to have it sour you can add more tamarind paste, but I do not use.
  • Transfer pumpkin curry to a serving bowl and garnish with the curry leaves and broken red chilies.


  • Fresh coconut is best for this recipe. 
  • You can use 1/4 tsp ground ceylon cinnamon or 1 large pinch of ground cassia.
  • Roasting lentils on a medium to low heat until deep golden and aromatic is very important. 

Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.

For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Pumpkin curry recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 190 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Cholesterol 19mg6%
Sodium 401mg17%
Potassium 738mg21%
Carbohydrates 22g7%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 9g10%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 7685IU154%
Vitamin C 115mg139%
Calcium 40mg4%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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© Swasthi’s Recipes

Pumpkin curry recipe

About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.

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Hi Swasthi, question for you. Recently I saw tender ash pumpkin (boodida gummidi kaya) cut sections in one of the largest Indian grocery store here. I am not sure what to do with that. I don’t believe that it is useful for making “vadiyalu”. The skin is still green and there is no ash coating on it. If you have any ideas about using this type of vegetable, please let me know. Next time when I go there I will pick up a piece and try. I am just curious. Of course one can make sambar or dal using this. But just wondering if anything else can be done with this veggie. Thanks

5 stars
Turned out very yummy. I totally loved it. I use your website for every time I need to cook something for the 1st time and it never went wrong. I can’t thank you enough. Bless you!

5 stars
Thank you so much sister for this wonderful recipe… 🥰🥰

Did something happen with the steps-by-step photos? I can’t see any!

Love your recipes ❤️ Thank you for sharing them.

Swasthi, second time I have cooked this and it is lovely – made it with the carrot and bean poriyals. Used coconut milk this time, last time with coconut pieces (frozen) and very happy with both – a keeper 🙂

I tried out your Pumpkin curry recipe, Swasthi and my husband and kids quite liked it. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful recipe.

5 stars
Love pumpkin in all forms and am grateful for this recipe!
I’m not sure if it is always like that but I made it yesterday and today it tastes even better, the sharp chilly taste is not dominating… Or may it be that my western taste buds are not used to very strong chilly-spices yet ?
Glove and cardamom are also good companions for pumpkin. If I’d like to add some to experiment next time, what amounts would you suggest to use?
Thank you ?

Yes, sure it was helpful. Thank you! I did with additional spices with amounts that you suggested and it was very nice. Just the 1 inch cinnamon was probably too big in diameter and the taste was very strong. If I use ground cinnamon instead of stick then would it be around 1 level tsp? Thank you in advance ?

5 stars

Am going to try this. Looks easy enough?

5 stars
I have never cooked pumpkin before so I tried to look online for a recipe and found yours. I like the telugu taste palate so I tried out your recipe. It turned out exceptionally well! Everything I was hoping for! Thanks a lot for sharing your recipe explaining so well!

5 stars
Clear, we’ll described, in a step by step process and with fine pictures. Thank you from a non-Indian for your help in making us appreciate Indian food!!

5 stars
Tried out the Pumpkin curry. It was simply delicious. Thanks Swasthi

5 stars
This dish is the kind of delicious that has everyone asking for more, but it’s so easy we can just relax & enjoy in the kitchen. I make it every time I have pumpkin. Even with sweet potato it comes out good. Thank you for a favourite recipe! <3

5 stars
Absolutely lip-smacking, thank you so much!

Hey, which is the best blender to make coconut based paste?

5 stars
Lovely recipe. It came out very well. Loved it a lot.

5 stars
Excellent, I loved this one!!! Didn’t have coconut, so I used thin coconut milk instead of water. My curry was very tasty!

Fantastic gravy!! looks yummm

delicious finger licking gravy.

Yummy curry,perfect with rice

Never tried any dish with pumpkin. Looks so creamy and yum