Today we have another of the rare Indian recipes that use milk. This recipe is one that can substitute the milk for coconut milk if that is more to your taste.
In India, milk is usually reserved for desserts, and in Ayurveda the consumption of milk with vegetables is not encouraged. In this recipe, I imagine that home cooks would use milk thickened with rice flour in place of coconut milk if that was not available.
It is best made with Indian tender pumpkin, but I have also made it with a number of our pumpkin varieties and quite love it. It is a very simple dish – pumpkin, seasoned, in milk with a simple tadka. But simple is best, no?
The recipe is one of Meenakshi Ammal’s from her cook books Cook and See – very traditional Tamil recipes. You can find all of Ammal’s dishes that we have made here. Most of them are from Vol 1 so far.
Pumpkin Milk Kootu
2 cups of a soft pumpkin eg butternut, peeled and cut into long finger-like pieces about 0.5 cm wide (or cut into cubes as I have done)
2 tspn jaggery or sugar (see note below recipe)
0.5 cups milk
2 tspn rice flour
pinch sea salt
0.5 tspn black mustard seeds
1 tspn black gram dal
2 dried red or fresh green chillies
2 tspn ghee
Cook the pumpkin in a tiny amount of water – less than half a cup – and a pinch of salt. Cover the pot so the pumpkin pieces steam cook easily. Cook until it is just tender – cooked but not mushy. If there is too much water, drain some off.
Add the sugar and mix gently. Mix the rice flour with the milk and add. Bring to a simmer while stirring, remove from the heat for 30 seconds, bring to a simmer again etc for 4 times in total.
Make a tadka with the ghee and spices – melt the ghee in a tadka pan or small pan, add the mustard seeds and when they pop add the dal and chillies. When the dal turns golden, pour the ghee and spices onto the kootu.
Serve and enjoy.
recipe notes and alternatives
Coconut milk can be used in place of the milk, or use half milk and half coconut milk.
Meenakshi Ammal uses 2 Tblspns sugar – this is far too much for our pumpkins and my taste. But increase the amount of sugar I have specified if needed. I used jaggery.