Quite often the food choice in the nagar is limited. My sabzi walla carries perhaps 2-4 types of vegetables with her on a good day, on a bad day 1-2 types. I've tried most things she sells and some of them I've not returned to after first taste. Every so often she will bring a pumpkin. Normally folks will buy a slice from the seller but she has come to realise that I will buy a whole one, because the keep well and are so versatile. But what all this does mean is that I have to be quite inventive when it comes to food here, I have to try and create variety.
For example since my return the vegetable of the moment has been bhendi (Okra, ladies fingers) with some aubergine and that was about it. Now I rapidly get aubergined out. So after making a black eyed peas and bhendi stew, a tomato and bhendi soup, a bhendi and barley risotto, I needed a change - enter a tomato and pomegranate soup concoction, which turned out very nice. Soups are a great way to use veggies, because I can eat a portion, freeze a portion, make noodles using the soup as the cooking sauce, make a cheat's risotto using a portion. Very versatile.
So when I get a pumpkin that's what I do - it delivers up pumpkin curry, pumpkin chips, wafer thin ribbons deep fried as crisps, pumpkin soup with cinnamon, pumpkin risotto, you get the picture. So tonight, I am really hungry and I reckon I need something really filling but my taste buds are crying out for something different. I check what is available - the last of my pumpkin, some potatoes, onions and that's about it, oh and I bought some badam, groundnuts. So I just let my taste buds do the walking and here is what happened - nutty pumpkin stovies.
For anyone who doesn't know stovies are a Scottish dish made from potatoes and onions, slow simmered till very soft. Usually made with beef dripping, (but of course not here). In its simplest form stovies is just that, but it can be "dressed" up with left over meats, lamb, beef etc
1 large teaspoon ghee for frying
I onion, chopped
6 or so cloves of garlic, squashed
1 inch piece of ginger, chopped
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin seeds
2 medium sized potatoes, chopped into 1/2 inch squares
about the same amount of pumpkin, chopped into 1/2inch squares
small handful of raisins
small handful of cashew nuts
small handful of badam
1 cup full of water
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Gently fry all onions with spices until the onions sweat.
2. Add potatoes, pumpkin, nuts and raisins, stir into mix
3. Add water
4. Gently simmer until soft.
The resultant texture should be such that the pumpkin has mushed down, the potatoes have started to but still have solidity.
I can't believe how good this tasted! Stovies improve on the second day, so I have kept some back for lunch tomorrow. if I tell you this took will power you can judge either how hungry I was or how good this was, or more likely both!