Skip to main content

Taste from Waste II - Pumpkin 'Brain' Chutney


Yeah OK, we're at the end of pumpkin season, waiting anxiously for that yoda like rodent, that prognosticating groundhog from Gobbler's Knob, Punxsutawney, PA to announce to the world about when spring 2012 will be here (sheesh!, the best weather predicting satellites & software & we still defer to the groundhog!).
Well, as long as the cold weather is here, we'll be making do with potatoes, pumpkins, and greens from the Brassica family such as cabbage, cauliflower & kale, not there is anything to complain. In fact, personally, I could live on potatoes alone!
Having said that, the topic of food waste still buzzes within the cranium and a pumpkin is one example of multiple components of the vegetable used up. The flesh needs no introduction, its baked, roasted boiled & pureed (thats 4 potential recipes for the future right there), the toasted seeds are used for stadium snacks, an aromatic gourmet oil & in granolas & topped over muffins. All that is discarded is the tough peel and the fibrous center encasing the seeds, colloquially referred to as the 'brains'...




The fibrous center has been the star of a chutney recipe handed down from my great grand mother. (yep.. the cauliflower relish 'paati's' mother), and within the family, it goes by a rather strange name.. Yaanai thalai thuvaiyal (Elephant's head chutney). The reason, I'm told, was that the old lady would reprimand my dad (when he was a young kid) about scarfing down large quantities whenever this was made, and the rather colorful description was likened to the volume of an elephants big head!. Whatever the reason, it seemed to make all the more sense when I came across a  website describing the central webby part as pumpkin brains!



The fibrous part from a freshly cut pumpkin has a yielding crispness which wilts pretty quickly, so its advisable to pick the center out, remove the seeds & refrigerate or freeze in a ziploc if not using immediately.

Yaanai Thalai thuvaiyal:
 1 cup central filaments from a medium sized pumpkin (without seeds)
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup Cilantro leaves
1 sprig curry leaves
2 tablespoon Tuvar dal
2 tablespoon Split, dehusked Urad dal
2 dried red arbol chiles
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/8 teaspoon asafetida powder
Salt to taste (~ 1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
1 tablespoon tamarind pulp (NOT concentrate)

Heat the oil in a skillet and add the mustard seeds arbol chiles & the dals. toast over medium heat till the dals turn a reddish brown, the mustard starts popping, and the arbol chiles begin to change color. Add the Asafetida powder, and transfer in a bowl to slightly cool.



In the same skillet, add the pumpkin filaments and sautee till it releashes water & cooks down, add the torn curry leaves give it a stir and transfer to a blender jar along with the toasted dal mixture.


Add the coconut, salt, cilantro & the tamarind pulp and blend until the ingredients combine into a semi fine consistency, similar to guacamole.

Transfer to a serving dish & serve along with plain boiled rice and pappadoms.



Here's to recipes from scrap! Bon appetit!


Comments

  1. It is an interesting recipe.Other version...As I learnt from my gran...remove the seeds and roast them,keep aside.Take a teaspoon of oil,heat,put mustered seeds,then curry leaves and asafoetida ,add coconut gratings and 1 or 2 chillies (1:3..coconut 1...pumpkin 3...not necessary...brain...even grated pumpkin would do)put the seeds and roast till coconut is light brown...keep aside...cook pumpkin..in its own water...when dry...cool,mix with above ingredients and little tamarind (size if 2 peanuts)..grind fine....this is Pumpkin Chutney,could eaten with rice,chapati even with Idlies or dosa

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am trying this one and the recipe in the comments soonest:) have been waiting for you to post!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks so much Lata for getting me to fast track this...

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

I'd love to hear feedback from you, your thoughts, ideas and suggestions.

Popular posts from this blog

Memories of School and Canteen food (the St. Anthony's Sandwich Chutney)!

September 5th.. every year..
The day is celebrated as Teacher's Day in India where I grew up and went to school. The day, we girls  (My Alma Mater, St. Anthony's Girls High School in Chembur, a suburb of Mumbai,  was an all girls convent run by the sisters of St. Joseph's Convent) would trip over ourselves to give our class teachers bouquets of flowers that we'd all bought from the lone florist 'Bhaiyya' who had a little set up of planks set up over the storm drain outside the compound walls of Saroj Hotel in Chembur Market. I vaguely remember he had 2 selections, a 5 rs. and a 10 Rs. A watchful eye ensured that the two rose buds in the bouquet were fresh and the there was a respectable amount of asters and chrysanthemums. And the cheaper goldenrods were kept to an optimum low!


Resolutions, part deux.

Some of us get to make resolutions not once, but twice every year. The first of course, on January 1st along with the rest of the world and the second time around, the last day of  the Indian festival of Navaratri, The 10th day that marks the end of the festival is known as Vijaya Dashami - the day when scores of kids , willing or not,  are marched off to commence music, dance classes or start learning to play an instrument.

Navratri, once you strip it of its patriarchal trappings, is an empowering festival celebrating the Mother Goddess. Each day, her various attributes (a daughter, a mother, a wife, a warrior, an intellectual,  as an unfettered free spirit etc.) are explored and worshiped. and thefood offering invariably is a protein rich Sundal made with various lentils - a meat substitute, a nod to a pre-Buddhist era when meat was an accepted part of Hinduism.



Back to the resolutions.. you'd have to have been living in a cave this past year not to have been made aware of how …

Aug 9 - Cauliflower Kolhapuri

I have a dear friend from school who lives in the City of Kolhapur in Maharashtra. When I visited her  at the gorgeous heritage resort she owns there en route to a holiday in Goa, she gifted me with a spice blend that I treasured to the last speck. It sat  at the bottom of my freezer and was doled out for special dishes just like Saffron is rationed out in many Indian homes. Its a lip smacking flaming  hot blend of onions, garlic and the famed Kolhapuri Mirch (red chili).

I marinaded cauliflower florets in a paste of this spice blend , salt and oil, and roasted it in a 450 F oven. Finished with a handful of green coriander berries, this was a fabulous treat paired with roomali roti.