This quick, easy, and mouthwatering Indian Pumpkin Curry is a flavorful and healthy vegan recipe that uses common household spices and seasonings and can be prepared in just 30 minutes! Indian pumpkin curry is also known as Khatta Meetha Kaddu, a very popular north Indian style of Kaddu ki sabzi.
There are several versions of Indian pumpkin curry, this Khatta Meetha Kaddu is one of the most frequently made curries/sabzi for lunch and dinner in northern India during the winter because of its ease, convenience, and simplicity. Khatta means sour, and Meetha means sweet, so as you can guess, this quick and easy curry contains mouthwatering sweet and sour flavors without requiring a lot of ingredients.
My Love Affair with Khatta Meetha Kaddu
I have the best memories of enjoying this pumpkin curry dish with hot puffed puris and Kheer on a sunny but cold winter afternoon in India, my native country. As I child, I always relished khatta Meetha Kaddu whenever my mom made it. My eldest daughter also loves pumpkin curry, so this indian style pumpkin curry recipe has become a frequent dish in my kitchen.
I have a love affair with pumpkin recipes, whether a pumpkin spice latte or a Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake and my early childhood memories of mom making Khatta Meetha Kaddu are the reason for this love.
What Makes this Indian Style Pumpkin Curry so Good
The wonderful flavor in this Indian pumpkin curry dish comes from adding fenugreek seeds (methi dana), ginger, raw mango, and jaggery. This curry dish includes the most common and quintessential spices of an Indian spice box, including turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, and garam masala.
The sweetness comes from the jaggery, which enhances the subtle flavor of the pumpkin.
- Pumpkin is bland in taste, so it absorbs the flavors of the other ingredients it is being cooked with. It tastes best when cooked in mustard oil, but you can use any oil available in your pantry.
- The curry gets its flavor from fenugreek seeds (methi dana). While cooking with methi dana, be careful not to roast it in oil for long by itself. Over-roasting this seed makes it bitter and gives it an acrid aroma.
- You can add nuts to give pumpkin curry a bite. When the pumpkin is cooking, it becomes soft and mushy, so I like to add little bits of nuts and seeds at this time. This enhances the nutritional value, but you can skip the nuts and seeds if you are allergic to them or prefer not to include them.
- Since it is a sweet and sour recipe, the sour flavor of this curry comes from green mango, but if you don’t have green mango on hand, you can also use dry mango powder/tamarind pulp or lemon juice.
- Use jaggery or sugar for a sweet flavor. Add the jaggery and preferred sour agent when the pumpkin curry is almost done. If you add them too early, the pumpkin will take too long to cook.
- Ensure you don't mash the curry too hard while stirring the spices and sugar. Stir gently to avoid a mushy consistency.
- You can substitute butternut squash for pumpkin in this pumpkin curry dish. If you make this substitute, keep in mind that butternut squash releases a lot of water while cooking, so you won't need to add any additional water.
- While working with the whole pumpkin, do not throw away the seeds. Roasted pumpkin seeds make a delicious and nutritious snack. Spice them up with your favorite flavors, and roast the seeds in the oven.
Indian Pumpkin Curry is Nutritious
Pumpkin, known as kaddu in India, is the main ingredient in this Indian style curry dish, and it is loaded with nutritious benefits and is relatively very low in calories. Pumpkin is considered a nutrient-dense food which means it is incredibly healthy. One cup of cooked pumpkin only contains 50 calories since it contains 94% water.
Pumpkin is also high in vitamins and minerals and a great source of beta-carotene, which our body converts into Vitamin A to help boost our immune system. It is loaded with vitamins C and E. Since pumpkin is rich in fiber, you feel fuller longer with a small quantity of pumpkin.
We can only find orange pumpkins in the USA, but I remember buying pumpkins with green and yellow peels in India.
The prep work for the pumpkin in this Indian style curry dish depends on the variety of pumpkins you use:
- Orange pumpkins need to be peeled, the peels discarded, and then the pumpkin should be deseeded and cubed.
- A pumpkin with green skin has a soft outer skin, so you cook the green peel pumpkin with the skin on.
- An orange or yellow peel is tough to cook; the outer skin must be peeled, discarded, and then cut into cubes.
- If you are in a hurry, you can use pre-packaged, cubed butternut squash available in most grocery stores in the USA.
How to Make Khatta Meetha Kaddu
In a wide wok or pan, heat the mustard oil on medium heat, and when heated, add the asafetida, followed by the methi seeds, chopped chili, and ginger. Stir the mixture until it becomes aromatic.
Add the nuts and saute for one minute.
Add the cubed pumpkin to the pan, plus the salt and turmeric powder, and stir everything together. Cover the pan with a lid for a minute or two and then remove the lid and check if the pumpkin has released any water. If not, you'll need to add water and stir again.
Cover and cook the pumpkin curry for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally on medium heat. Cook until the pumpkin is a bit soft. If the curry becomes too dry, you may need to add some more water.
Add the raw mango and all the spices and cook for a few more minutes to allow the pumpkin to absorb all the beautiful flavors.
Finish by adding jaggery and garam masala. Top with chopped cilantro before serving, and enjoy this quick and easy Indian pumpkin curry dish with some puris.
Indian Pumpkin Curry Recipe (Khatta Meetha Kaddu)
- In a wide wok or pan heat 3 tablespoon mustard oil on a medium heat, when heated add asafetida.
- Then add Methi seeds, chopped chili and ginger until it turns aromatic.
- Further add nuts sauté for a minute then add cubed pumpkin to the pan.
- Additionally, add salt and turmeric powder and stir everything together.
- Cover it with a lid for minute or two
- Remove the lid and check if pumpkin has released any water. If not then add ¼ cup water and stir again.
- Cover and cook for 10 minutes stirring in between make sure the heat remains medium only.
- Cook until the pumpkin is little soft, if curry seems to be too dry then add another ¼ cup of water.
- Now add raw mango and all the spices.
- Cook for few more minutes until pumpkin absorbs all the flavors.
- Finish the curry by adding jaggery and garam masala.
- Finally add chopped cilantro before serving and enjoy this Khatta Meetha Kaddu with puris.