I have strong feelings for pumpkin, mostly when left out in the chill of autumn nights during the Halloween season. It is the most abused and wasted vegetable sacrificing itself to rot and finally dumped in the compost bin. Is that his or her karma carved by custom and tradition!

The gigantic orange globe is one of the most nutritious vegetables. Loaded with protein, vitamins A, C, B2 and E, potassium, copper, manganese, and iron, it also carries phosphorus and zinc, and antioxidants that fight cancer cells.

So why to waste this super heavyweight produce.

There are plenty of recipes available on the internet to make enjoyable meals and snacks, from pumpkin bread to soup.

I remember my mother used to make rich and yummy pumpkin halwa garnished with crushed almonds or other nuts. Very occasionally, she would decorate it with a paper-thin silver foil called “verk.”

Besides the halwa preparation, the pumpkin curry was another preparation that we occasionally enjoyed. It is called “Ambal.” It is a ceremonial dish in the Jammu region among the Dogras. In every Dogra function, “Ambal” is a must. Made with the innards chunks of pumpkin, Amble offers a distinctive sweet and sour taste.

With its high nutritional values and many delicious preparations, pumpkin occupies a healthy spot in our diet menu, beside or rather than as a lighted and carved showpiece at the entrance door.

-Promod Puri

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