Pumpkin Oambal / Assamese Sweet and Sour Pumpkin Chutney
I don’t know about you guys but as soon as I hear the word Chutney and Pickles, my mouth starts watering. I guess chutneys have that effect and that is precisely the reason why any regional thali is incomplete without them. We Indians can boast of an array of pickle and chutney varieties and one needs it on daily basis to satisfy our taste buds.
The reason Chutneys are usually accompanied with the starters or appetizers are to get our taste buds up and running, increase our appetite and make us ready for the main course that follows. Hence Chutneys are usually a mix of spicy, bitter, sweet and sour – All elements that are essential to our palate.
Chutneys, when consumed in moderation are extremely good for the gut. Take for example, the basic Coriander chutney and its ingredients, it is like a total detox for the system. Thali comprises of many components, some fried food, spicy vegetables etc and a lick or two of chutneys in between meals, ensures the food that you consume, digests easily.
Chutneys have a short shelf life which means that every family tries to grind / cook it fresh and consume it within a day or two or store it max a week in refrigerator. Chutneys can be made with a variety of ingredients like fresh herbs, fruits, vegetables and peels too.
I adore regional cuisine for a very simple reason – An ingredient can be made in many varieties, yet tastes different and delicious every few kms you travel! Magic of Indian Food I believe! Every State boasts of a variety of chutneys and I don’t think one lifetime is sufficient to taste and experience them all.
I am part of this month’s Recipe Swap Challenge, idea of which was conceptualized by Jolly Makkar wherein a group of bloggers work together in pairs and cook a recipe from each other’s blog. So, for the Recipe Swap challenge, I was partnered with Veena Krishna Kumar who blogs at Veenas Veg Nation. This is her first challenge in the group and I was very happy to peruse through her blog and find this lovely Regional Chutney Recipe from Assam Called Pumpkin Oambal.
A fairly simple recipe, the star ingredient here is the Pumpkin or Kaddu in Hindi, Mathan in Tamil. The chutney is cooked with Tamarind paste, basic spices with a finishing touch by grated jaggery that lends the lovely golden brown texture. Sweet, Sour and Spicy all at the same time. A perfect side dish to your meals. Since Assamese cuisine has a fair bit of Spicy food, this chutney though sweet and sour, was equally spicy, just apt to my taste.
Until few years ago, Pumpkin was an underrated vegetable but has recently gained importance due to veganism and gluten free food culture. We South Indians have been eating this vegetable since eons. The sambar is incomplete without chunks of Pumpkin. I adore the Mathan Errisery that is part of the Onam Sadya or Avial – The mixed vegetable that has pumpkin and Ash gourd as the key ingredients or a simple Poiryal or Thoran that has cooked pumpkin with grated coconut on top. Be it any form, Pumpkin has been a personal favourite.
I was so glad I chose to cook this recipe. A versatile Vegetable, deliciously transformed into a chutney. I hope you enjoy cooking and eating this delicious regional chutney recipe as much as we did at home. Check out the recipe and the step by step pics of the delicious chutney
Recipe for Pumpkin Oambal / An Assamese Sweet and Sour Pumpkin Chutney
Prep Time – 10 mins
Cook Time – 15 mins
Serves 4 or 5 nos.
- 1 cup of peeled, washed and cubed Pumpkin
- ½ tsp of Mustard seeds
- 1 bay leaf
- 10 to 12 nos. Raisins or Kishmish
- 3 or 4 nos. Whole Red chillies
- A pinch of Asafoetida or Hing
- ¼ tsp of Turmeric Powder or Haldi powder
- 1 tsp of Red chilli powder
- 2 tblsp of thick Tamarind paste or pulp
- 1 tblsp of crushed Jaggery
- 1 tblsp of Oil
- ¼ cup water
- Salt as per taste
- Heat a kadhai or non-stick pan, add oil and mustard seeds.
- Allow it to crackle and then add hing, bay leaf and some whole red chillies.
- Now add the cubed pumpkin, raisins and mix them well.
- Add salt to taste, turmeric powder and some red chilli powder.
- Add ¼ cup water to cook / soften the pumpkin.
- Now add the tamarind paste or pulp. Mix everything together and keep a lid on and allow it to cook for 5 – 7 mins until the pumpkin is soft.
- Using your spoon, mash the pumpkin.
- Add jaggery and mix everything well once. Cover with lid and allow it to completely melt and form a lovely golden brown colour chutney mixture.
- Switch off the flame and serve it with some Dal or Rice or even phulkas / theplas etc.
Recipe Notes –
- If you don’t have tamarind paste or pulp ready, here is what you can do – A marble sized tamarind ball soaked in atleast 10 tblsp of hot water for 15 mins. Squeeze it completely and use that thick tamarind pulp to add to the pumpkin mixture. Ensure you add a bit extra water than ¼ cup mentioned above to get rid of the raw smell of the tamarind and ensure even cooking.
- Original recipe had lime juice but I have avoided the same as the tamarind (its sourness) did the trick for us completely.