After what seems like a very long break I'm back with this delicious chutney made with the tender leaves of pumpkin. In between there was some entertaining and plenty of cleaning. I had been neglecting the house except for the daily chores so spring-cleaning was done in the middle of summer!:)
The tender shoots and leaves of pumpkin are widely used in vegetable dishes. Not only do they taste great but are a rich source of iron, vitamin A, vitamin C and calcium. We also add the leaves to dal and other dried fish preparations.
This is a Bengali chutney. I got the recipe from my friend, Rupa, but I made my own adaptations. I used about 20 leaves and with the addition of spices it's enough for 3-4 people.
20 tender pumpkin leaves
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic
A quarter tsp grated ginger
6-7 green chillies, chopped
1 tsp toasted and ground coriander and cumin powder (optional)
2 tbs mustard oil
Salt as per taste
A quarter tsp fenugreek seeds
Wash the leaves under running water and leave to dry in a colander for an hour or so. You could pick a bunch and flap them in the air so that the drying process is expedited. Repeat with another bunch of leaves...
Heat a flat pan/a roti tawa and place 2-3 leaves on the hot pan. Toast on both sides till the leaves let out a nutty aroma. Repeat with the rest of the leaves. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a pan. When it comes to smoking point, add the fenugreek seeds. As soon as the unique aroma comes out, remove the seeds with a slotted spoon. Discard them as the chutney will be ground and we don't want to add the fenugreek seeds to the mixture.
Throw in the chopped onions and fry till they change colour. Add the chopped green chillies, garlic and the ginger. Add the rest of the spices and sprinkle a bit of water so that the spices do not burn.
Now add the toasted leaves and cook till they are done. This will take about 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle some water so the mixture does not catch at the bottom. Season with salt.
Remove from the flame and let it cool.
Transfer to a blender and blitz till the mixture is smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
This dish goes best with rice.