My Mother decided I had moped around the house long enough in my vacations and it was high time I did something constructive. Lazing around, reading books and when all was done complaining "kantalla ala mala ( I am so bored -in Marathi), there's nothing to do around here , my life is a waste", was getting on her nerves. Summer holidays were a trial, too hot to go out, I had stopped going out to play ( in my teens then , I shunned my childhood games of lappa-chappi, aba-duubi, lagori, badminton with an imaginary net) many of my friends had gone to their native places to enjoy holidays.
So having discussed all these problems with her 'train group', one 'auntie' suggested that Mom should send me to some classes, to learn something that will be useful 'later'. And she very luckily had the solution she exclaimed! Send her to SNDT, Kings Circle, they have cooking classes there and she will learn to cook different things. "Girls need to know these things, otherwise the Mother gets blamed , you know!"
My Mother hurried off to SNDT and enrolled me in their class. I was aghast! Cooking? Learn cooking ? In the holidays? Didn't she see I had NO time? Uh-oh! Trapped in my own words, I had no option but to go.
I wondered if all other girls there were tortured souls , sent for punishment.. but most of them looked happy to be there. I felt lost, they all spoke in Gujarati and I only understood some of it, it appeared they knew each other and shared that one goal in life, 'learn to cook saras food'. I learnt what I could and hurried home with a handful of recipe papers stapled together. Done! Shoved the papers aside and went to some other forms of occupying my mind.
All those years my Mother kept my papers safe and the last time she visited me, handed them over! This time I was happy and grateful, it was so thoughtful of her to bring them back !!
Browsing thru the recipes I recalled this Marwari vegetable which I had liked then and one trip to Albertsons and I had what I needed!
I used :
2 cups Butternut Squash (peeled and cubed) - the original recipe calls for Pumpkin
1 cup cubed Potato
1 Green Chile (+/- to taste)
1 inch piece Ginger , grated
1/4 tsp Fenugreek seeds
1 Bay leaf
1 small piece Cinnamon stick
1tsp Cumin seeds
1/4 tsp Asafetida
2 tbsp. Ghee (clarified butter)
3-4 Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Coriander seeds
little less than 1/2 tbs Garam Masala
1/4 tsp Red Chile powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric pwd
Salt to taste
Wash, peel and cube the squash and potato.
Slice the green chile and grate or thinly slice the ginger.
Heat the ghee in a wok/ kadhai , add bay leaf, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, cinnamon, cloves, pepper and coriander seeds.
When the above sizzle, add ginger and green chile
Add the potato and squash and just enough water to cook
Add turmeric, asafetida and red chile powder
Mix thoroughly, cover and cook
When cooked add Garam Masala, cook for a minute or two
Switch off the heat and add lemon juice and mix
Serve hot with fulkas (tastes best with puris)
* Note: This vegetable is supposed to be hot, but I have used only 1 chile as heat comes thru the whole spices( clove, cinnamon , pepper) which I have also used in moderation.
The red chile powder is optional.
We prefer small amount of Garam masala in our vegetables ( I have used Rajwadi Garam Masala) and therefore use it sparingly.
The second time I made this I used some of the Gujarati garam Masala dear Trupti sent me, it adds a wonderful flavor to the vegetable!