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.
Pumpkin curry recipe
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)
- 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)
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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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