Khatta Kaddu From Himachal’s Pahari Thali (Sour Pumpkin Curry)

Even though there are 6 months left for this year to end, I am very confident that my most memorable meal of 2016 has to be the Himachal’s Pahari Thali. I had the good fortune of visiting a friend who lives in the beautiful town called Mandi in Himachal. If you have been to Kullu or Manali, you have probably passed by this beautiful place. The river Beas flows through Mandi and hence the town perpetually has a background music of the river flowing. The river is simply is breath-taking and the night sky is gorgeous. That’s me chilling by the river side.

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And this is the recipe I will be showing you today.


I had a wonderful stay at my friend’s bungalow and ate some delicious local food like Mandi’s special giant kachoris and bun-tikki but what knocked my socks off was the Pahari Thali. Also know as bhaat, the thali is eaten in a specific order with steamed rice. It starts with sweet which is daal vadi dipped in spiced sugar syrup followed by sour which is khatta kaddu. The next dish is daal vadi in spinach followed by kaali daal (black lentil) and finally jhol which is similar to the besan kadi but lighter in consistency. I was told that the thaali has many more curries and dishes but since this was a home-cooked meal, only the family’s favourites were prepared. Oh! I almost forgot, the entire meal has no onion or garlic or tomato. Unbelievable right?

While I hope to bring the other gems from the Pahari Thali on this blog but the khatta kaddu was ridiculously good and I HAD to share it with you all asap. You have to make it to believe how spectacular this curry is. So, let’s go!

Here’s what we need:

  • 400 gm pumpkin
  • 2-3 Tbsp Mustard Oil
  • 2 Whole Red Chillis
  • 1 Tsp Cumin Seeds (Jeera)
  • 1 Tsp Coriander Seeds (Dhaniya)
  • 1 Tsp Fennel Seeds (Saunf)
  • 1/2 Tsp Fenugreek Seeds (Methi)
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh Ginger Paste
  • 1 Tsp Turmeric Powder (Haldi)
  • 1 Tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 2 Tsp Sugar
  • Salt to Taste
  • 35 gm Tamarind (Imli)
  • 1 Cup Warm Water


Grab a cute little pumpkin.


Slice and dice into medium sized chunks. Do not chop it too small. The chunks have to be a good size.


Heat the mustard oil in a very old pan and wonder why you don’t get a new one.


Throw in the cumin seeds and whole red chillis.


In no particular order, throw in all dry spices and let them sizzle for a minute.


Add the ginger paste. It really gives a kick to the whole dish. I LOBE ginger.


Next, put in the pumpkin chunks and stir them around for a minute.


Add the salt, red chilli powder and turmeric powder.


Mix everything together until all pumpkin is coated with the yummy, fragrant spices. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.


While the pumpkin is cooking, soak the tamarind into warm water and let it stand for 7-8 minutes. Using your fingers, squeeze out all the pulp from the tamarind and drain the seeds and fiber.


Add the tamarind water to the pumpkin.


To balance out the spiciness of red chillies and sourness of tamarind, add in some sugar. You can add more or less than the specified amount depending on how you like it.


Cover and cook until pumpkin chunks become tender but hold their shape. Most of the tamarind water will reduce to a thick curry.


I highly recommend this dish if you are bored and tired of the same ol’ stuff. It’s sour and spicy with just a dash of sweetness. It will really make your mouth water. I hope you like it as much as I do. Happy cooking!




Hello...My name is Yeshi. I love cooking and baking.I started experimenting in the kitchen when I was 12 years old. As soon as mom would leave from home, I would quickly go into the kitchen and try to create something new. Through my blog, I would like to share my passion for cooking & baking, some original, some inspired and some classic recipes. I hope you like it.

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