Kaddu Chana (Banaras style)

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I am at a geographical advantage when it comes to food. A Kolkata girl married into a Banarasi family and living in Saddi Dilli — three places that are considered a foodie’s paradise. While my growing up years in Kolkata have brought me closer to the authentic Bengali cuisine, my roots and my sasural in UP have inculcated in me a taste for desi UP ka khana. At the same time, the years I have spent working and living in Delhi have exposed me to Pujnabi food as well as various international cuisines.

Hubby, the chhora Ganga kinaare waala that he is, often demands Banarasi food. Sometimes even things that I haven’t heard of or tasted. But thanks to his instructions, I am mostly able to make that dish as close to that cooked in Banaras. Kaddu Chana was one such dish that he suddenly demanded to eat one day. A frantic phone call to Mom and a couple of tries later, I was successful in getting the exact taste that he wanted. Kaddu Chana is a spicy side dish, eaten with both Rice and Roti. It is prepared in almost all households in UP whenever there is a festival or an occasion. And now it is a regular dish in my household too. Try it, if you are an avid pumpkin lover. And even if you’ve never been fond of the vegetable. The tangy, spicy taste of this dish is surely gonna make you fall in love with it. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

250 grams green pumpkin (peeled and cut into cubes)
100 grams bengal gram (soaked overnight)
1 bay leaf
2 whole red chillies
1 teaspoon panchforan (cumin seeds, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, fengreek seeds and onion seeds)
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon kasoori methi powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon red chilly powder
1 teaspoon dried mango powder
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt (to taste)
4 tablespoons mustard oil
4 cups water

Recipe:

Boil the bengal gram in salted water till soft. Drain and keep aside. Heat mustard oil in a pan. Add the bay leaf, dry red chillies and asafoetida. Then add panchforan and fry till the seeds turn brown. Mix in the boiled bengal gram. Stir for 3 minutes. Add turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, kasoori methi powder, garam masala powder, red chilly powder and mix well. Stir fry for another 2 minutes. Now add the cubed pumpkin and mix well. Cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add sugar and salt and mix well. Cover the pan with a lid and cook till the pumpkin is tender and most of the water dries up.  Make sure that you don’t overcook the pumpkins else they will mash. Add dried mango powder and give one final stir. Remove from heat and serve hot.

Eat, drink and be merry! 🙂

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