Flora,  Food

The pumpkin patch

This morning we discovered a pumpkin patch. Actually, it was more than a patch, it was a field where they were growing red pumpkins.

I’ve always found the local nomenclature for pumpkins and squashes very confusing. Now, this one would be called ‘kohra’ in Bihar, but it is called ‘kaddu’ elsewhere. In Bihar, what we call ‘kaddu’ is called ‘lauki’ elsewhere (that’s bottle gourd incidentally). Unlike in the West, where pumpkins make an autumnal appearance, we get them throughout the year in India.

We struck a conversation with the farmer who was on the site inspecting the ‘bhopla’ (as it is called in Marathi). I found it fascinating to learn about the male and the female flowers and how to distinguish between them. I usually wrinkle my nose when someone talks of kohra for lunch- certainly not my favourite.

But then pumpkin flower bhajiyas (fritters or ‘bachka’ as we would call them in Bihar) are scrumptious. The farmer hadn’t heard of them. I just hope he goes home and tells his wife to try making them! My good deed for the day will be done! You have to know how to only pick the male flowers, and leave the female ones behind as they bear the fruit. Clean them up by discarding the stems, sepals and stamen, coat them in chickpea flour, add the spices and fry them crisp. That will be a great accompaniment for tomorrow’s Sunday lunch! Here’s a recipe you can use.

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