Halloween to the West, clumsily obese person to the rest, the pumpkin or kadduhas many a meaning for us. Then there is the aspect of it being food: Here too it shows as much versatility, lending itself to a variety of dishes, from sweet to savoury, low-cal to high-cal, local to global. The Americans have it for Thanksgiving, in the form of the deliciously creamy pumpkin pie, ensconced in a biscuity crust and served with a dollop of whipped cream; the Italians make a risotto of it.
The Japanese fry it crisp into a tempura, and the Portuguese blend it into a smooth and filling soup. In India, it is put to more austere use, as koomror chokka and chorchori in Bengal, kottu and sambar in the south, and the appropriately named kaddu ki sabzi in the north.
Below, we are giving you the recipe for the Sri Lankan Gal curry, a dish that evolved in the 1950s among the local greengrocer community. They would take home what was left over after the day’s sales and put it all into a curry. The Gal curry has become something of a staple in households where people don’t have much time to cook. The red pumpkin and the dried fish are great energizers and the subtly sweet taste of the pumpkin blends well with the spicy curry.
Every fortnight, we pick one item and tell you why it is good for you and how you can make it part of your meals