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Thursday, 30 November 2017

Pumpkin Oambal

Pumpkin Oambal is a delicious and a popular dish from the Assamese cuisine. It is basically a sweet and sour pumpkin chutney which makes up for an irresistible side dish. Pumpkin Oambal tastes best with any Indian flat bread like chapati or paratha and goes well with steamed rice as well. The chutney gets the sour taste from tamarind, the sweetness from jaggery and has a distinct flavor which it gets from mustard oil. Whole red chilies and chili powder adds the spicy kick to the sweet and sour pumpkin oambal , making  a lip smacking affair. The added raisins imparts a rich taste to the chutney. The recipe is very simple , quick , easy to follow, and requires basic ingredients that are almost always present in an Indian pantry. 

Last month i had mentioned about Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge group where i had cooked Vegetarian Thukpa as my contribution towards cuisine of Arunachal Pradesh. We had Assamese Cuisine as the theme for November month and my partner for the challenge was Sujata Shukla Di who blogs at PepperOnPizza . Sujata di gave me two secret ingredients , mustard oil and pumpkin , the result of which is this irresistible and flavorful chutney . In return i gave her potatoes and mustard oil as her ingredients and she made a lovely traditional dish called All Pitika which is a spicy mashed potatoes in mustard oil. Cooking for state wise theme is so much fun, and i get to know about different cuisines and i am just loving it.

For those who would love to know little more about Assamese Cuisine , the cuisine of Assam is characterized by very little use of spices , little cooking over fire and strong flavors due to  use of endemic exotic fruits and vegetables that i either fresh , dried or fermented. Assamese are by and large non - vegetarian and their staple diet is rice with interestingly cooked fish and meat dishes. However , vegetarian food is abundantly available. The preferred oil for cooking is the pungent mustard oil.

Pumpkin Oambal

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Servings: 3-4
Cuisine: Assamese
Course: Side dish /chutney/condiments

  • 350 grams pumpkin red / yellow
  • 1 gooseberry size tamarind
  • 2 tablespoon jaggery powder
  • 2-3 dried red chilies , deseeded
  • 1 tablespoon raisins
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon mustard oil
  1.  Wash the pumpkin and peel it. Discard the seeds and cut it into cubes. To a sauce pan add 1 1/2 cup of water and add the pumpkin cubes to it. Allow it to boil until the pumpkin cooks very well. Mean while wash and soak the tamarind in 1/4 cup warm water for 10 minutes. Extract the pulp and keep aside until use.

2. Once the pumpkin is done put off the flame. Mash the pumpkin with the help of back of the spoon. Now add the tamarind water to the mashed pumpkin . Mix well .

3. Heat mustard oil in a wok or pan. Allow it to smoke. Now lower the heat and let the oil cool a bit. Next add mustard seeds. Once the seeds crackle add the bay leaves.

  4. Next add raisins and pieces of red chilly and fry for few seconds.

 5. Add the pumpkin tamarind mix to the spices . Cook for 2-3 minutes.

6. Now add jaggery powder and season the oambal with salt and red chili powder. Mix well. Cook for another 1-2 minutes and put off the flame.

 7. Serve the lip smacking pumpkin oambal with chapati , phulka , paratha or steamed rice.

For more lip smacking chutney recipes, do check my posts on

  • Methamba / Kairas - Raw Mango Relish