Kaddu ki subzi – Pumpkin / Squash curry, and making coriander and cumin seed powders

Kaddu ki subzi is again a curry I tasted first in school.  In North India, it is a common recipe especially at this time of the year, and it gets done very quickly.  Possibly one of the reasons why it often came in ‘packed lunch’.  I am sure harried mothers found it easy to prepare pumpkin curry early in the morning.

You can substitute pumpkin with any local squash.  I cannot say that this is one of my favourite vegetables to cook.  But I make it once in a while and it is tasty, when paired with Indian flatbreads like roti, phulka, puri, naan or kulcha.  I had mentioned earlier that P returned with many vegetables from his village.  The pumpkin is one from the loot. I took this photograph specially for the ‘Autumn/Orange/Pumpkin theme challenge’ hosted by Simone this month.

Still photography | Pumpkin | Tongue Ticklers - Food / Photography

Spices, spice-powders and spice-mixes form a very important part of Indian cuisine.  This subzi (the Hindi word for vegetable) uses coriander powder (dhania powder) and cumin powder (jeera powder).   Before I proceed to the recipe I feel it is essential to know how  one should make these spice powders at home, how long they need to be roasted and how the texture should feel.  The whole aim of TT is to help simplify Indian cooking and help cooks new to Indian cuisine find their comfort zone.  The best place would be with simple masalas.  Very often when you are unfamiliar with a particular cuisine, and it calls for roasting, the common doubt is the duration of roasting required, and the portion to be blended for best preservation.  Today I am sharing the recipe for kaddu ki subzi – Pumpkin / Squash curry, and making coriander and cumin seed powders.

You can check my personal blends previously posted here or in Beyond Curries;

Garam masala ~ All purpose North-Indian spice blend
Molagapodi ~ Gunpowder ~ South-Indian blend for idli and dosas
Pulav Masala ~ Spice blend for aromatic pulav / pilaf
Rasam podi – How to make my mum’s rasam spice mix
Tengai podi ~ Coconut powder

Coriander powder | dhania masala |Tongue Ticklers | Indian Food Photography

Coriander Powder – Dhania Masala:
Dry coriander seeds – 2 tbsp.
In a hot wok or skillet, dry roast coriander seeds till slightly coloured and aromatic, 1 minute.
Cool and powder in a spice blender.  Use within a month.
Yields 11g of powder.

Cumin seed powder | Jeera Masala |Tongue Ticklers | Indian Food Photography

Cumin powder – Zeera / Jeera Masala:
Dry cumin seeds – 2 tbsp.
In a hot wok  or skillet, dry roast cumin seeds till slightly coloured and aromatic, 1 minute.
Cool and powder in a spice blender.  Use within a month.
Yields 14g of powder.

Pumpkin Curry| Kaddu ki sabzi |Tongue Ticklers - Food / Photography

Recipe: Kaddu ki subzi – Pumpkin / Squash curry
Allergy information: Free from gluten / Dairy / Soy / Casein

Serves : 4 Portions
Category : Side Dish
Serving suggestion: Traditionally served as a side dish with whole wheat and refined flour flatbreads.


Pumpkin or any squash vegetable, cut in 1 inch cubes with skin – 600g
Onion, small, chopped fine – 1 (I recommend 6 shallots if possible)
Mustard oil – 1 tbsp (Any oil will do, but the flavour from mustard oil compliments best)
Cumin seeds / Jeera – 1 tsp.
Dry fennel seeds / Saunf – 1/8 tsp. (Optional but recommended)
Cumin seed powder / Jeera masala – 1 tsp.
Coriander powder / Dhania masala – 1 tsp.
Turmeric powder / Haldi – 1/8 tsp.
Garlic – 2 pods, minced fine with 1 green chilli
Red chilli powder / Lal mirch – 1/8 tsp., or to taste
Sea salt – To taste
Chopped coriander, to garnish, optional


Heat oil. When hot, add cumin seeds. Roast till they crackle. Add fennel, garlic and chilli mince. Fry till the garlic turns golden.

Add finely chopped onions, and roast till golden around the edges, adding a pinch of salt to help the onions sweat. About 2-3 minutes.

Add chopped pumpkin, followed by cumin and coriander powders, turmeric powder and half the salt.

Stir well. Cover and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove lid. Add 1/2 cup of water, and place lid again. Cook on low heat for about 15-20 minutes, till the pumpkins turn soft, checking and stirring twice in between.

Remove lid. Stir and mash the pumpkins using the back of the ladle or pressing against the vessel. The vegetable is traditionally eaten mushy, as this helps reduce the sharp sweetness of the pumpkins and helps the vegetable take the flavour of the spices. I like it mushy.

Naan with pumpkin curry |Pumpkin Curry| Kaddu ki sabzi |Tongue Ticklers - Food / Photography

And mushy does not make it very attractive. 🙂

You can choose to keep it chunky. Follow your heart.

Pumpkin Curry| Kaddu ki sabzi |Tongue Ticklers - Indian recipes

Garnish with coriander if desired.

Fennel seeds are not traditionally added but I like its sweet burst in this recipe.

Today I served these with naans that were topped with coriander, hence I avoided the garnish.

More Pumpkin Recipes:

Mathhan erissery ~ Pumpkins in coconut gravy
Pumpkin Soup with coconut cream
Steamed pumpkin soup with shallots

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Have your say

  1. Oh harini, I am falling in love with the pictures. They are too good. I love pumpkin and they are my favorite autumn vegetable.

  2. the deep orange and green of the finished veggie gives it an inviting contrast…and thanks for the spice powder recipe. also what is the proportion of dhania -jeera mixed powder. Can this powder be used in all veg preparations

  3. I miss this variety of green Indian pumpkin so much. I never liked it when I lived in India actually or maybe i had just begun to like it before i left, but i am so sure I’d love to eat it now on seeing your pictures. I’m assuming these are the wood planks you talked about before. The picture look good. I think you have done a good job at capturing the difference in colours of the unroasted and roasted seeds. I remember i was surprised that my camera didn’t seem to recognise the difference like i could see with my eyes. but then i only have a point and shoot.
    The pictures are lovely!

  4. Looks so delicious…love the spices you have used 🙂

  5. This is so gorgeous Harini! I love, love that picture you send in for the challenge. The light hitting that pumpkin is just mesmerizing! Nicely done! Obviously the other pics are great too but that one is really the eye catcher! So happy you joined in this month!

  6. I know what you mean. I had that kind of relationship with brinjals all my life, until recently! I am not sure why I hated them.:D Yes, those are the planks my husband brought. Thanks! Yes, P&S has its limitations.

  7. Thanks, Bharathi. I never mix the two powders. I prefer that way because there are certain subzis in which I like lots of coriander and less zeera and vice versa. I like lots of coriander powder in potato curry, beans curry and lots of zeera in kala chana preparations.

  8. Thanks, Simone! I am going to try and join every month.:)

  9. I loved this simple curry!! The clicks are to die for Harini 🙂

  10. Thanks Harini,

    I had had this few years ago at someone’s place and was thinking how to make it few days ago and here it is. Thanks for posting. At what stage did you add the fennel seeds – at the start with cumin?

  11. Yes, a bit later. I like it to just be there for flavour, so it doesn’t have to brown. Have I forgotten to put it in writing? Will check and add. I m glad about that coincidence, Sujata!

  12. Such a terrific October fall recipe. Say no to mushy!

  13. love ur pics always! i have an old relation with kaddu ki sabzi ! … try adding some sugar in it … it tastes divine with sugar…

  14. I guess that will taste like dumrot?

  15. That was a really beautiful photo. I love the light which was perfectly done and the composition with poetry. I love your photo work 😉

  16. Thank you! That is very kind of you. You take such great photographs yourself. 🙂

  17. Made this a couple of days ago, and it turned out wonderful. A good change from my usual bengali and marathi style pumpkin sabjees.

  18. Thanks for the feedback, Pradnya. Glad you liked it.

  19. You write so well, very engaging food blog! Although am not a vegan, your arguments in favour of veganism are very convincing…Keep up the good work and may you continue to enlighten and entertain with your blog.

  20. Thank you! 🙂

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