I havent grown up eating much of pumpkins. Dad was never too keen on this vegetable. Mom never bothered to cook much with it. But occasionally she did make these sweet fritters. These are called Gharge or Ghargi in Maharashtra and north Karnataka.
All these years I almost forgot about this delicacy. Last week we visited a farm hosting a pumpkin harvest event. I couldnt resist buying the bright orange beauties and went a little overboard with it. I had pumpkin soup and a few other savoury dishes in mind. But a craving for some thing sweet(its diwali right!) got me thinking about these gharge.
They are crisp on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. These little bites can be quite addictive. The poppy seeds are optional however I highly recommend using them for a unique nutty flavour. I made these over Diwali weekend and we snacked on them over tea time.
A very Happy Diwali to all who celebrate it!!
So, what did you make this Diwali?
Poppy Seed kissed Sweet Pumpkin frittersYield – 16-20 pieces
Things you need -2 packed cups grated pumpkin (any sweet pumpkin variety will do. I used Red Kuri)
1 cup powdered jaggery or light brown sugar (see notes)
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1-2 tbsp poppy seeds, optional
oil for deep frying + extra for moulding the fritters
half tsp cardamom powder
2 tbsp ghee/clarified butter
How its done -
1. In a heavy bottomed vessel/pan , heat the ghee and add the grated pumpkin to it. Stir for a minute or two.
2. Add the jaggery and cardamom powder and mix well. The mixture will start to turn mushy. Keep stirring occasionally on medium to low heat until moisture has evaporated and a smooth and sticky mixture has formed. This takes 20-30 minutes.
3. Allow the mixture to cool down. Add the wheat flour little at a time to the pumpkin jaggery mixture and knead it into a dough.
The dough consistency has to be tight enough to form balls. Make golf sized balls and slightly flatten them with your palm. Use a few drops of oil on your palm to help you with this.
Sprinkle some poppy seeds on both sides and press lightly so that the seeds stick to the surface of the fritters.
4. Heat oil in a frying pan. Lower heat to medium-low and deep fry the fritters until golden brown. Transfer them to a absorbent kitchen paper towel to discard excess oil.
5. These taste best a day on from preparation. They can be stored in an air tight container up to a week.
Notes -Brown sugar can be substituted for jaggery. It may take slightly more time for the moisture to evaporate. So cooking time may vary.
You may also add 2-3 tbsp of rice flour to the wheat flour. This makes them extra crispy.