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Calabaza Squash & Bell Pepper Curry

2 pounds calabaza squash (pumpkin)

2 cups water

1 teaspoon salt or to taste

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

Spices (popu or tadka)

2 tablespoons oil

1/2 teaspoon red small mustard seeds

1 teaspoon chana dal

1 tablespoon urad dal

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 dry red chilies

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 red or green bell pepper (cut into small pieces)

1/2 cup cut onions (optional)

2 green chilies cut into three pieces

2 curry leaves from two stems

2 tablespoons shredded coconut (optional)

2 teaspoons tamarind juice

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon rice flour

Peel squash. Cut them into one inch size pieces and wash. In a 3-quart sauce pan boil the water with salt and turmeric. Add squash and cook until pieces are slightly soft to touch. Drain squash into a colander and pour cold water over the pieces to stop cooking.

Rinse the pan and return it to the stove. Heat oil on medium heat. Add mustard seeds. When they start to splatter, add chana dal, urad dal, red chilies, and cumin seeds. Fry until chana dal becomes light brown. Add turmeric, bell peppers, onions (if using), green chilies, and curry leaves. Fry for a minute. Add coconut (if using) and mix. Add tamarind juice and brown sugar.

Add cooked squash pieces and mix gently, making sure not to mash the squash.

Cook for few minutes on low heat. Add rice flour and mix, cook until the moisture in the squash curry has evaporated.  Transfer the curry into a serving dish.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Tastes good with rice or chapati.

Note: Asafetida can be used instead of onions.

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