Easy Pumpkin Masala

October 7, 2015

Easy Pumpkin Masala

My favorite Indian cookbook is “Step-By-Step Indian Cooking” by Sharda Gopal.
Why am I telling you that?
I dunno, I guess I just needed to get it out there.
I guess I just needed someone else to know.
Just like I want you to know that I find this song annoying, that I would like to kill the Geico gecko, and that I’m not digging The Big Bang Theory anymore.
There, I said it. Now sue me. Or do whatever you deem is right.

Easy Pumpkin Masala

Back to the Indian cookbook. I love it because the recipes are simple and the kind you can make quickly and easily at home.
Sharda is a warm and friendly writer, and she encourages you to adjust up or down the amount of spices to fit your palate and dietary requirements.
Many of the recipes can be made with ingredients you'll find almost everywhere, though they’re not overly westernized, and you'll appreciate it when you sit down with a warming eggplant curry or a green bean toran.

Easy Pumpkin Masala

Over the years I’ve fallen in love with one particular recipe  in that cookbook: Aloo Masala (also called Dry Spiced Potato).
It’s a popular south Indian vegetarian spicy dish. Made with a good amount of spices, fresh tomatoes, and potatoes.
I tweaked (not twerked) the original recipe and replaced (most of) the potatoes with pumpkin.
One word: DELISH.
Pumpkin is like a sponge, it absorbs flavors beautifully, and - to be honest - you need to work really hard to make pumpkin taste bad.
If you are new to Indian cooking, and you want to try a simple vegetarian curry recipe, this is the perfect one for you. Anyone can nail it.
Few ingredients, simple technique, and awesome results.

Easy Pumpkin Masala

The pumpkin melts in your mouth and bursts with flavor. It's really, really, but like really good.
Even my friend Vidya, let me rephrase that, even my very opinionated friend Vidya said “This is really delicious. I’m impressed!
Now that’s validation!

Easy Pumpkin Masala                                                                                                                         Print this recipe!
Adapted from Step-By-Step Indian Cooking

Serves 4

3 cups / ¾ lb / 310 gr pumpkin, diced
1 small potato, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons finely grated ginger
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon chili powder (use more or less depending how hot you want it)
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 dry bay leaf
1 cup / 250 ml water, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon mango powder-amchur (optional)


Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion, garlic, ginger, and half of the cilantro. Sauté until the onion becomes translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Add garam masala, chili powder, bay leaf, and mango powder (if using), and sauté for 30 seconds, until fragrant.
Add pumpkin, potato, diced tomatoes, ½ cup of water, and salt.
Cover with a lid and cook on low heat for about 25 to 30 minutes — until the pumpkin has softened, the potato is cooked, and the water has been absorbed.
In the meantime, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small saucepan add cumin and sauté for 60 seconds or until the fragrance emerges (be careful not to burn it though.)
Add the cumin to the pumpkin mixture along with remaining ½ cup of water.
If it looks too dry, adjust by adding more water one tablespoon at a time.
Garnish with the remaining cilantro and serve.

Nutrition facts

One serving yields 98 calories, 4 grams of fat, 10 grams of carbs, and around 3.5 grams of protein.


  1. Yum! This sounds so cozy and comforting.
    I guess I'm old because I didn't know that song you linked and had to close it after 20 seconds. I have never liked Big Bang and I wonder if that is because I am married to an engineer and it is a little close to home?

  2. This looks delicious! I love savory pumpkin recipes- so comforting :)

  3. I adore Indian food - in Sri Lanka we have a version of Aloo Masala, it's called Ala Thel Dala - but, I don't think I've ever had a Pumpkin Thel Dala :)
    Awesmazing recipe Mike!

  4. "You need to work really hard to make pumpkin taste bad." hahaha...so true, Mike! Pumpkin really is such a fun ingredient. I've never thought about using pumpkin in masala form, but I bet I would like it! I've been on a savory pumpkin kick around here lately. Also, lets tie the Geico gecko up and put him down a storm-drain somewhere? That commercial with his trophy makes me want to die a little inside. #WolfpackPumpkins

  5. Mike, this sounds SO good. And per usual I love that your recipes are generally pretty easy, with ingredients I have on hand. Thank you for making it so I can actually make your recipes without a headache (:

  6. This sounds and looks amazing. I may be trying it this weekend. Making my annual pumpkin bread (from scratch), so I will be picking up a bunch of sugar pumpkins perfect for Saturday night dinner.

    Also, I liked that song to an extent when I first heard it (mainly because of the beat and I love Marvin Gaye), but then I just now saw the video. Whoa! I'm a very open minded type of girl where sexual stuff doesn't scare me or offend me. But damn...I think the song would have been better just about two people ready to get it on. I don't like it much anymore. I haven't been happy with Big Bang Theory's last two seasons. It's kind of lost it's oomph and now Sheldon is acting weird. My English fiancé doesn't understand the Geico lizard being British since they don't even have lizards over there. So, I've been ready for a change for a while now.

  7. I have a few friends who are anti-pumpkin, they object to texture and taste - I cannot quite 'get" it... to me, it's a fantastic food item, satisfying, creamy, delicious...

    your preparation sounds like a dream come true...

    btw, my next blog post will be your paleo-mousssaka.... sooooo delicious! I hope you can stop by to see it...

  8. YUM!!! This looks super delicious. i am always on the hunt for indian recipes because i can never get enough. thanks for sharing this

  9. Now this looks pretty darn amazing. Delicious, comforting and full of flavor.
    I checked out that hefty cookbook,looks great, but wow, the prices of cookbooks. Put that one on my WishList! BTW, just the name Green Bean Toran sounds good!
    The Geico gecko doesn’t bother me as much any commercial I see for The Big Bang Theory. It looks so insipid! Haven’t those actors out grown those parts. I know, I probably left myself open for criticism, but hey, like you said, sue me.
    Beautiful photos here Mike.

  10. Love reading your thoughts about life/the recipe leading up to the actual recipe. That Charlie Pluth song is KILLING ME. In the bad way.
    This dish looks great!! I could get down with that cookbook, too.

  11. So excited to finally see a NOT SWEET pumpkin recipe around the food blogosphere :) Looks amazing Mike!

  12. I've been looking for more warm meals now that the weather is cooling down, and this looks like it will definitely hit the spot! This looks amazing!

  13. This looks wonderful, and thanks for the cookbook recommendation, I've pinned it on my 'stuff to buy' list! Indian food sort of intimidates me, so simple sounds really good! I hear you on the Big Bang Theory though, it's like they just lost it a few seasons ago, but I just keep watching, hoping it will get better but it never does! :(

  14. I love Indian food, will have to get a copy of the cookbook. Your masala looks delicious!

  15. You always hit it out of the park with your recipes! Hubbbbbaaaaa!

  16. UGGGHHH THAT SONG! I agree with everything you said above. Can you make this with canned pumpkin? I've never actually gone out of my way to use a real pumpkin (gasp!) - how do you prepare/peel/dice? Is it easy?

  17. I definitely need to buy that cookbook! I don't cook Indian food near enough and it's nice to know that all Indian food doesn't have to be overly spicy! You hit a home-run with this recipe, Mike! :D

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. Wow, it's like I no longer know who you are after those life-shattering revelations at the beginning of the post...

    Nicola, xo

    p.s. nice recipe, too ;)

  20. Végétarian indian food featuring pumpkin?? Yes, please!!


  21. This is gorgeous and I just love this flavor combo. I'm all about some savory pumpkin recipes! I need to venture out and get some great spices so I can cook more Indian dishes at home! Pinning!

  22. Oh yum! I love savory pumpkin recipes and anymore you don't see a lot of them! I always have trouble with Indian food from restaurant with the after effect my body has, but this one seems perfect!

  23. This was perfectly wonderful. I made a couple of adjustments the second time I did the recipe, due to the ingredients I had in my house and what was at the store. I used butternut squash and a sweet potato and doubled the tomatoes. It, too, turned out great. Cauliflower rice.

  24. I made this and loved it. I used tamarind paste instead of the mango because I didn’t have it. Really tasty and delicious!