Happy Thanksgiving everyone! A grateful heart is a happy heart, and my wish for each of you is a grateful heart. Thanks so much for your past support of Menus and Memories from Punjab. Village kids are counting on your continued support. All profits from the book go to them. Be generous, please share this site with all your friends and family. You never know how many potential Indian food lovers there are! Remember that Menus and Memories makes a great gift that keeps on giving in so many ways--healthy recipes, great stories-- and educated kids!

Here is my pre-holiday gift for you to thank you for your support. Nothing says autumn and the holidays like pumpkin. We made this recipe I learned from Aunty Avtar in our recent cooking class. It’s so easy, yet tastes yummy—spicy, sweet, with a little sour kick from the green mango powder. Bake the seeds with a spray of oil and salt for a healthy snack or a crunchy garnish for a cream soup.

Punjabi-Style Pumpkin or Squash (vegan or vegetarian)               
Phaytha
Yield: 8 half-cup servings   

3 lbs edible* pumpkin or butternut squash
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1½ teaspoons whole fennel seeds (optional)
½ teaspoon whole coriander seeds
2 tablespoons ghee or canola oil
½ teaspoon garam masala and/or onion seed (kolonji)
1½  teaspoons green mango powder amchoor or 2 teaspoons lemon juice
Pinch or more of cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt or more, to taste
2 tablespoons crumbled gurd/jaggery or brown sugar
Garnish; 2 tablespoons sliced cilantro

Cut the pumpkin or squash and remove the seeds and spongy fiber. Microwave the pumpkin until cooked but firm. Cool and peel and cube into 1½-inch pieces.

Heat the cumin, fennel, coriander seeds (and kolonji) in a small, dry pan until fragrant. Grind in a spice grinder. Heat the oil or ghee in a non-stick pan. Add all the spices, stir, then add the pumpkin cubes and salt. Partially dissolve the sugar into ½ cup warm water and pour over the squash. Cover tightly and cook on low to moderate heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning and sweetness. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

*Don’t use the stringy Jack o’ Lantern pumpkins.