Fall is upon us and it’s time to celebrate all things pumpkin! Here in the US, no other vegetable characteristically defines the fall season more than a pumpkin (the famous orange variety). Rarely do we see this noble vegetable at any other time of the year, so when it’s in season – I like to make the most of it. I highly recommend using the small sugar pumpkin variety for this recipe.
Pooris are a delicious deep-fried Indian bread and the addition of fresh pumpkin makes them even harder to resist. In Marathi, these are known as gharge. Pooris (or puris) are enjoyed throughout India and are eaten particularly on festive occasions and holidays. This particular recipe is a favorite among both kids and adults alike. Pumpkin pooris can be made as either sweet or savory & these tasty pooris can be eaten for breakfast or as a light snack or meal and are especially great for picnics since they travel well.
Jaggery (known as “gul” in Marathi) is an unrefined sugar from either the date palm tree or sugarcane & is easily available in any Indian grocery store. If you don’t have any jaggery on hand, dark brown sugar is an excellent substitute.
If you prefer to use a hand grater, then by all means – go for it. If you have a food processor, then your prep time is a snap, just remember to remove the hard outer peel & the inner seeds first.
PUMPKIN POORI (Sweet)
2 cups grated sugar pumpkin
2 cups whole wheat flour (atta), as needed
a few tbsp of all-purpose flour, as needed
2 tbsp jaggery (or you can use dark brown sugar), to taste
¼ tsp ground cardamom powder
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp butter (or ghee)
oil for deep frying
In a large deep skillet or wok on medium heat, add the butter. When melted, add the grated pumpkin and sauté for a few minutes before adding the jaggery. Stir & let the jaggery melt into the pumpkin. Then reduce the heat to low, cover & let cook until the pumpkin has completely softened. Then transfer the cooked pumpkin to a mixing bowl and thoroughly mash (a potato masher works well for this task) into a pulp. Now add the cardamom powder & nutmeg. Mix well to combine all of the ingredients. Let cool slightly – just enough so you can comfortably handle the pumpkin mixture. Next, slowly add just enough flour to the mashed pumpkin mixture so it comes together. Mix well and knead until a soft dough is formed. If the dough is sticky, just add a little all-purpose flour.
Using a clean work surface sprinkled with some all-purpose flour, gently knead the dough and divide it equally into round balls (roughly ping pong ball size). At this point, you can use a poori machine (similar to a tortilla press) or a rolling pin to make the pooris. Roll them out evenly into round circles (4-5 inches in diameter). Heat a deep skillet with enough oil to deep fry. When hot, carefully add the pooris (2-3 at a time) and fry until golden brown. You may need to fry them in batches. Drain well and serve immediately.
You could also make these pooris using butternut or acorn squash.
I have made these pumpkin pooris using chai masala (¼ tsp) and they were such a huge hit!
If you wish to make Savory Pumpkin Pooris: OMIT the jaggery, cardamom powder & nutmeg. Instead, add the following ingredients to the cooked pumpkin:
½” piece of ginger (peeled & grated)
¼ tsp ground coriander powder
¼ tsp ground cumin powder
1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (Kasoori methi), optional
salt & pepper, to taste
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