Ash Gourd with Ginger and Coconut

I craved this flavour as a fast breaking meal and ate it with boiled millets and prawn pickle. Here’s what I remember of the recipe. Would have been great with kadi patta, but we didn’t have any.


  • Ash Gourd, 700gm, peeled and chopped
  • Ginger, 75gm
  • Green chillies, 6, ground with the ginger
  • Urad dal, 50gm
  • Green cardamom, 3 pieces, peeled
  • Black pepper, 1 tbsp, grind with cardamom
  • Star anise, 3 whole flowers
  • Cinnamon, 5gm piece
  • Cloves, 6 pieces
  • Dried red chilies, 5 pieces
  • 1 whole coconut kernel, grated
  • Coconut oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Onions, 3 med-large, sliced


  1. Heat a generous amount of coconut oil
  2. Gently brown the urad dal to golden.
  3. Add all dry spices; fry
  4. Add ginger-chili mixture; fry
  5. Add onions; fry
  6. Add add grated coconut; stir well for a few minutes
  7. Add chopped gourd and 500ml water. Stir well.
  8. Pressure cook until done. 10 minutes in a Futura for me.

Banarasi Kaddu ki Khatti Meethi Subzi

Certain memories of one’s childhoods never fade away. For me, every summer vacation Mom used to take us from Gujarat to our Nani‘s house in Banaras. Every morning me and my cousins would go to Gangaji for a bath and while returning jam kay bhook lagti thi and Nani used to keep this dish ready for us to eat. Believe me, simple kaddu ki subzi and puri would give us so much happiness.

My Nani was widowed at a very early age so she had very limited resources. She use to cook on a chulha, and we kids would surround her and sit, while she made garam garam puris and serve us in kuut ki thali (brass thali).

Sometimes, I feel kaash time machine hoti movies ki tarhah and I could relive those days once again. So today was my lunch, banarasi kaddu ki khatti meethi subzi with masala puri.


  • 250 gm Pumpkin/Kaddu, peeled and cut into pieces
  • 3 tsp Mustard/Sarson oil
  • 1/4 tsp Fenugreek seeds/Methi dana
  • 1/4 tsp Cumin seed/Jeera
  • 2 nos Red chilli, dried
  • 2 nos Green chilli
  • pinch of Asafoetida/Hing
  • 1/2 tsp Red chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder/Haldi
  • Salt as per taste
  • 1/2 tsp Dried mango/Amchur powder
  • 1/4 tsp Rock salt / kala namak
  • Jaggery/Gur as per taste


  • Add oil in a kadhai and heat till it starts smoking. Switch off the flame and wait for a minute or two, so the oil cools a little and doesn’t burn the spices in the next step.
  • Add jeera, hing, methi dana, dried red chillies and green chilies.
  • When the mixture becomes aromatic, add kaddu, salt, haldi and 1/4 cup water.
  • Cover and cook till almost (80%) done.
  • Add gur, chilli powder, amchur, rock salt.
  • Cover and cook on a very slow flame till the oil separates.
  • Serve hot with masala puris.


  • The ingredients mentioned are for one portion
  • If you don’t have mustard/sarson oil, any other can be used
  • Haldi/turmeric powder can be less if you wish
  • When removing the skin of the pumpkin/kaddu, don’t remove too much. Use a peeler not a knife.
  • The distinctive flavour of this dish comes from the sarson ka tel, gur, methi dana and rock salt.
  • An iron kadhai is best for cooking this dish.

Spiced Ham with Mixed Beans

Each day, it becomes an effort to find ways and things to cook, such that we don’t overdo our macro nutrients. My other challenge is to keep sugar low in addition to regularly breaking traditional culinary norms, so Cherie doesn’t end up with the same culinary compulsions we have, such as our fixation with rice or rotis with every meal.

This is an interactive meal, with three components – the beans, the spiced ham and the salad, each with their own textures and flavours.


  • for the Spiced Ham
  • for the Mixed Beans
    • Black eyed peas, 1 cup, boiled and drained
    • Chickpeas, half a cup, boiled and drained
    • Sesame oil
    • Salt
  • for the Salad
    • Cucumber, sliced
    • Tomato, diced
    • Carrots, strings, trimmed at one end, stored in ice water until use


  1. In a little oil, fry the garlic, the the onions, then the sauce (per taste), the ham and finally the carrots, until they’re cooked or you’re happy with the result. Since none of the ingredients need cooking per se, you can stop the cooking anytime you want, for instance, if you wanted the carrots crunchy.
  2. Toss the beans with sesame oil and salt and mix well.
  3. Sprinkle a bit of lemon juice on to the salad and mix well.


  1. If you cut the carrots into strings, lay them out first.
  2. Overlap the bottom of the carrots, which are bound to be unruly, with the beans.
  3. Place the salad on one side of the carrots, along with a wedge of lime.
  4. Place the spiced ham on the other side of the carrots.