Guest post by Big Apple Curry inspiration Geetha who lives in Canada, is my mom, and makes what we consider the best South Indian dishes!
It’s October and festive orange pumpkins are everywhere. Little children in North America make trips to local pumpkin patches and parents carry home large pumpkins to be carved into glowing jack-o-lanterns for Halloween night. It’s a sign to me that Fall is here, along with cooling temperatures and cozy, comfort food. Pumpkin is nutritious and its mild-flavor makes it perfect for pumpkin pie, muffins, and chicken stews.
Indian cuisine uses different varieties of pumpkins for a range of dishes. White pumpkin, for instance, is used in many savory Indian dishes like South Indian Green Yogurt Curry. But come October, whenever I see sweet (pie) pumpkins in the market, I immediately think of my homemade pumpkin pudding. It’s a sweet and creamy dessert called “payasa” that hails from the southern Indian state of Karnataka. My pumpkin pudding is a thinner version of payasa, thanks to whole milk rather than cream, and is thickened and scented by ghee (clarified butter), saffron, almonds, and cashews. Because fresh pumpkins are seasonal in North America, and available only for a few weeks, be sure to get one soon and make this luscious Fall dessert!
Pumpkin Pudding with Saffron and Glazed Nuts
- 1 small sweet pie pumpkin
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom powder
- 1 can (300 ml) condensed milk (I use Eagle brand)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons blanched almonds, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons raw cashews, finely chopped
- Cut the sweet pie pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and fiber. Cut the finer threads with kitchen scissors, if necessary. Set the pumpkin seeds aside and reserve for another use, if preferred.
- Cut each half into 4 quarters. Using a sharp knife, remove the skin, dice the pumpkin into small pieces this yields 4 cups of diced pumpkin). Wash, rinse and drain the pumpkin pieces.
- In a medium saucepan, add pumpkin pieces, whole milk and water. Slowly bring to a boil on medium heat, and simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes until the pumpkin pieces are soft and cooked. Set aside to cool.
- Puree the mixture in a food processor, which yields about 3 cups.
- In another medium saucepan, heat ghee on a medium-low heat. Gently sauté finely chopped almonds and raw cashews until golden brown. Remove the nuts and keep aside for garnishing.
- Using the same medium saucepan, reduce heat to low and add the crumbled saffron threads, cardamom powder, pureed pumpkin and condensed milk (adding more ghee if necessary). Mix well and gently bring to a boil for 1 minute.
- Pour into serving dishes and let it rest for few minutes. The pudding can be served warm or cold. Garnish with glazed nuts before serving.