Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Pumpkin Roghan Josh

We are almost 100+ days  in to being confined indoors. COVID-19 is still creating havoc around the world.
A few years ago, we were considering the possibility of having to return to India, because of VISA constraints. At that point, we did look into homeschooling options for our son, to complete the academic year. 
Luckily, we did not have to. 
But, fast forward to today, though it isn't strictly a homeschooling scenario, I am glad we did not consider this as an option.  While it suits many families, I do not think we can be among those. My son and I miss school, the noise, the fun. As an only child, my son often feels lonely. He is also at an age where we as parents are not the best of company, he needs kids his age. 
As we hear the buzz around about schools opening up, come Fall, we don't know what our plan will be. Do we want him to go back to a crowded classroom and bustling hallways? Will masks and gloves be enough? I mean these are kids we are talking about. 

We still do curb side pick up for our groceries. We do venture into stores , but rarely. It's just stressful. People everywhere, no gloves, no masks, small children running around, unchecked. 
Coming home to wash, clean, dry and store the produce. Phew! I just want all this to end. Like most of you, I want life to go back to being normal. This new normal, isn't normal. 

But in all this, I am grateful to have a job that allows me to work from home (technically, it is summer vacation, schools are closed and so I have a vacation too.) and so does M. I'm grateful that our family and friends are safe. I'm thankful for all the front line workers are doing to keep us safe. I only hope that those who protest against wearing masks realize that it is necessary, to keep everyone safe. Let us all do our bit. 

 Trying out new recipes is the only nice thing about being confined indoors. That and catching up on reading. I poked among my cookbook collection and found this treasure. With so many recipes being online and at the touch of a screen, books seem to be neglected, but every once in a while, I love to pick up a book and flip through the pages and read the recipes in an unhurried way. It is relaxing and the recipes are great ( of course! that is why the book was published and is famous). 

While the authentic Roghan Josh is a Kashmiri meat based (typically lamb or mutton based) curry in an aromatic gravy ,  my version is a vegetarian one.  
The recipe is simple and tasty. 

Adapted from the cookbook : Annapurna by Mangala Barve. 
To make Pumpkin Roghanjosh (you can use Butternut squash too), you need:

1 lb. Pumpkin/ butternut squash. 
1/2 cup Plain yogurt (beat it till smooth and set aside)
1 tsp Fennel seeds powder
1/2 tsp. Dry Ginger powder 
1/4 tsp Nutmeg powder
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
2 blades Mace
5-7 Kashmiri dry red chillies
1 inch Fresh Ginger
2 Tbsp Ghee
Oil to deep fry 
Salt to taste

Peel the pumpkin, remove the ends and the seeds and chop into cubes. Prick the cubes all over using a fork and deep fry the cubes. drain on tissues and set aside. 
To the blender jar, add the de-stemmed and deseeded red chillies and grind to a paste using up to 1/4 cup water. Grate the fresh ginger. 

Heat a kadhai  or a deep saucepan, and add ghee. As the ghee melts and heats up, add the fresh ginger and saute. Add the fennel seed powder, the dry ginger powder and stir fry briefly. Keep te heat at medium or low- medium, do not burn the spices. Now add the beaten yogurt and the red chillies paste and salt to taste. Saute for a minute,stirring so that the yogurt does not curdle or stick to the base of the pan. 
Add a quarter cup of water, mix. Add the fried pumpkin pieces and mix gently. Simmer the curry for 5 mins. Add the Garam masala, mace blades , nutmeg powder. Boil the curry for 1 minute, switch off the heat, Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with roti or poori. 

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