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Sweet And Sour Pumpkin Sauce

Wondering what to do with your pumpkins other than carving them up for Halloween or making pies? Here's one good idea.

a pile of many-colored pumpkins

Photo: Jeremy Seitz (Flickr)

Not all pumpkins have to end up as jack-o-lanterns.

The yellow pumpkin is used in home kitchens in traditional Indian cuisine during festivals. My mom cooked it either with pigeon peas or split mung beans. I remember her telling me that the yellow pumpkin had a cooling effect on the body by reducing ‘pitta dosha’.

The pumpkin is a good source of A and B vitamins, phosphorus, potassium and many other minerals. Research also suggests that phytochemicals found in pumpkins may have anti-diabetic affects.

This summer, several pumpkin plants started to grow from seeds I had disposed in our compost pit. We harvested our first pumpkins in July, earlier than normal but they were delicious anyway. There are about 8-10 pumpkins in our garden now, slowly turning golden yellow — they will be ready to be harvested within the week!

Sweet And Sour Pumpkin Sauce


  • 2 cups pumpkin, cubed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 - 3 springs cilantro, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons tamarind paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds

Cooking Directions

  1. Cook pumpkin until it's well done. Puree and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. After they pop, add pumpkin puree along with the rest of the ingredients (except cilantro) and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Vary the quantity of sugar to taste. Lemon juice or vinegar can substitute for tamarind. Add more water during the final cooking if you prefer a thinner consistency.

Rama Cousik

Rama Cousik grew up in India, watching and helping her mom cook. The taste, the texture, and the way she feels when she eats seasonal vegetables and fruits are indescribable. Hence, no matter where she lives, the idea of seasonal food is an essential part of her food philosophy.

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