Butternut Squash curry Indian Style, Little oil

IMG_20150910_154852 IMG_20150910_154900 IMG_20150910_154920 IMG_20150910_155059 IMG_20150910_155104 IMG_20150910_155254 IMG_20150910_155307 IMG_20150910_155856

I had a small Butternut squash and I thought about cooking it. We in India generally use pumpkin for preparing curry, well, same family, so why not. And when Halloween is so near.

In Dehradun city, North India, in 1987, we used to eat at some restaurants who prepared a delectable dish with pumpkin a little sweet and sour, and a bit mushy, I tried to recreate my fantasy.

So peeled and cored the squash, as you see and cut in small pieces. I took two tomatoes and peeled them (tomato skin left in curry is loosely hanging around and shreds are conspicuous by their presence). Tomatoes should be felt, no seen. I cut the tomatoes in small pieces, and kept an inch of ginger whole ungrated (my grandkids do not like ginger shreds on their palate but fragrance of ginger ok. I wanted to add some Cayenne Pepper, but avoided again because young children were involved. In go two cloves of garlic beaten to submission, but left intact.

So, out comes a cooker, heated and with a little canola oil (canola is Canadian Mustard). Added fenugreek seeds to splutter, and then added the squash and tomato pieces. Pumpkin is always made with addition of Fenugreek, not regular Cumin in North India, don’t ask me why. I never asked my mother. And now I can not….she is smiling from above.

I added one teaspoon of turmeric concentrate, a little brown sugar (sweet variety….not the drug), turmeric powder and salt. cooked it under pressure, but no whistle. Too delicate for that. I decided to cool the cooker under tap after a while. All was guesswork. I love to take risks in the kitchen.

Ended with a little curry powder, (garm masala) and a hint of EVOO for the kids. I am sorry, I in a hurry did not take the photo of the hot stuff and its cold now. having been in the fridge last half an hour that I am typing.Squash curry

So little was left over, I am delighted.

If nk (that is me) can cook, so can you. Do not be afriad to take risk (in the kitchen). Never.


Indian Daily Food

The Basic Indian Food

Suppose you are an Indian in the year 1960. You get up at 0600 am, and have breakfast at 0900, before walking 4kms to your workplace. You carry lunch with you, which you eat at 0100pm. You walk back home around 0630 and eat dinner at 0800, and go to sleep at 1000pm.

For most of the Indians, this was a routine for many many years. Till Pizzas and Burgers invaded us.

Supper as a word was unheard of. Evening tea existed only for the rich (and how many were rich….nearly none). Tea itself was non-existent. Snacks were available, mostly fritters, or similar; but again not a daily affair. BECAUSE cooking was done on burning coals, and the fire used to take a long time to start, and to put out. So, it was used only twice a day.

No wonder all the walk, physical labor and simple food kept people healthy. Cholesterol as a word was not in the dictionary. Everyone used to eat tonnes of saturated fat, and trans-fats……… still!


So what was this breakfast, lunch and dinner?

Roti, with Sabzi and daal in breakfast, Roti, sabzi and daal at noon, and Roti, Sabzi and daal in the evening. I presume all these words are from Persian language, which percolated in the North Indian lingo with the armies invading India.

Roti is flat wheat bread (described in yesterday’s blog), Subzi literally means ‘the greens’ in Persian or Arabic, therefore cooked vegetables. Boiled Potatoes with gravy was a favorite Sabzi, though it is not a green by definition. And daal is anything that is the seed of a bean; split in half. For hundreds of years, Indians have torn a small portion of Roti by hand, used it like a spoon to pick some vegetable, or daal, and dunked it in the mouth. Three or four Rotis or Chapaatis (synonyms) with 100 gms each of “cooked watery daal” and Sabzi was enough for a guy.

Some of my blogs show examples of what we know as sabzi or dry vegetables. I will do a detailed blog on a zero-oil daal soon.

You will love to read it and then cook it, and eat it. The basic Indian stuff, generic term for food is “daal-roti” in India.

Two birds living together (the patient and the care-giver)

द्वा सुपर्णा सयुजा सखाया समानं वृक्षं परिषस्वजाते
तयोरन्यः पिप्पलं स्वाद्वत्तयनश्नन्नन्यो अभिचाकशीति

The above is from Mundaka Upanishad. And means this “Two birds living together, each the friend of the other, perch upon the same tree. Of these two, one eats (tastes is more appropriate) the sweet fruit of the tree, but the other simply looks on without eating.”

The classical explanation points to the individual who acts and his inner conscience which observes. I find it so relevant in the context of a Cancer Patient and the care giver. The sufferer tastes the suffering, and the caregiver observes. She can not fathom the suffering.

The patient has a license to behave erratically, get angry, show displeasure. The caregiver has to remain stoic not be perturbed. She can not show her tears, not allowed.

Why I single out Cancer is because Cancer is a long term affair, at some point  both the parties involved are worn out, broken and lose patience. Slowly the sufferer and the caregiver merge into one, the dualities disappear. The suffering and the sufferer meld into one! The care giver is probably a bigger sufferer in the long run, specially if she lost the battle. 😦

The Photograph shows a Yoga Class for the Cancer patients and the care givers, in an East Delhi Temple. Yoga participants