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Pumpkin and potatoes with tomato

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Pumpkin and potatoes with tomato

Travelling from Kerala to Madras we passed through the state of Tamil Nadu, which is primarily vegetarian. Our train trip started with miles of rice paddies and coconut plantations and gradually wound its way into the hills. Here, we encountered miles of paddocks carved with symmetrical rows of vegetables - including potatoes, which have become the staple food in this region.


  • 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder
  • 5 very large juicy tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups water or vegetable stock
  • 750 grams new baby potatoes
  • 500 grams pumpkin, diced into 2cm cubes
  • ½ cup freshly grated or desiccated coconut
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh coriander


  1. Mix the tamarind and water together and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the mustard seeds, then cover and cook over a moderate heat for about 2 minutes until they have all popped.
  3. Add the turmeric, chilli powder and tomatoes and stir well. Strain the tamarind pulp and mix the liquid into the pan with the water or stock. Add the potatoes and diced pumpkin and bring to a simmer.
  4. Cover and cook gently for about 15 minutes. Check the potatoes and if they are becoming too dry, add a little more water. Continue to cook until the potatoes are just tender. Add the coconut and cook a further 2 minutes. Season with salt and toss in the coriander. Set hot.

Cooks Tips

- Tamarind pulp comes form the dried pods of the tree of the same name. The acid pulp is used throughout southern India to add sharpness to curries. The dried pulp is available in good supermarkets and needs to be soaked in water and massaged well to dissolve the pulp. Strain well and discard any seeds or fibres.

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