pumpkin raita

pumpkin raita

Here's my first pumpkin recipe of the year, even though autumn is technically a few days away, I think it is fair to say, the weather is cooling down quickly, the sun is setting earlier, and my craving for pumpkins is kicking in. Though this is also the time when we bounce back and forth between hot and chilly day  and I think that you will find this recipe a fitting tribute to the transition between summer and fall,  with its cool, light, and refreshing flavors, something that you can eat as an accompaniment to any meal or even as a salad. 

Pumpkin cutting

One of my favorite accompaniments in Indian cuisine is the "raita".  It is usually served chilled and it soothes and cleans your palette whenever you eat a spicy hot dish. There are several hundred different varieties of raitas but all of them share one common ingredient, yogurt. Normally, you would use plain yogurt but since I like my raitas a little thick and creamy, I use plain Greek yogurt. If you want it thinner, mix in a little cold water till you achieve the desired consistency.

Yogurt and Cilantro

Sugar pie pumpkins are the perfect size for a small family and much more easier to work with. All you need to do is simply quarter the pumpkin, discard the seeds and strings from the inner cavity, peel and discard the skin. To grate the flesh, pass it through a food processor with the appropriate blade or use a grater. For this particular dish, I prefer to steam cook the grated pumpkin since it only takes a few minutes and the pumpkin retains its structure. 

Falling black mustard seeds

This raita will go deliciously well with rice dishes, flat breads like naan or rotis or even as a dip for a party. If you want it hotter, just add a few more chili peppers just make sure it is served super chilled.

Here are some of my other favorite savory and sweet pumpkin dishes that I hope you will like,
bowl of pumpkin raita

pumpkin raita

yields: 4 servings

ingredients

2 cups grated pumpkin
1 thai green chili pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 red onion, minced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
3 cups plain non-fat greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon sea salt 
1/4 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds
2-3 curry leaves, dried or fresh

1. Place the grated pumpkin in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with a lid and microwave for 3-4 minutes until the pumpkin is completely tender.  Keep aside to cool.
2. In a large mixing bowl add the pumpkin, chili pepper, onion, cilantro, mint, yogurt, salt, and pepper. Whisk the ingredients with a fork and taste to make sure the amount of salt and pepper is enough. Transfer the mixture to a clean serving dish. Cover and refrigerate the raita for 1-2 hours until chilled.
3. Before serving, heat the oil in a saucepan on a medium high flame till it gets slightly smoky. Immediately reduce the flame to low and carefully add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. The seeds will begin to spurt and the leaves will brown in the hot oil. Cook till the seeds stop spurting and pour the entire contents while hot on top of the chilled raita. Serve immediately.