Friday, April 11, 2014

Ambal (Yellow Pumpkin Chutney)

Today I am posting a recipe from Jammu and Kashmir. Every day this month I will post a recipe from a different state in India.

Kashmir has always been known for its beauty. Nestled in the Himalayas it a lovely place to get away for a few days. Kashmir is known for 'cashmere' and its shikaras (boats). While the Kashmir valley gets all the attention, Jammu is just as beautiful. Jammu has a large population of the Dogra community and they speak Dogri. Dogri is also spoken by a large number of people in Himachal Pradesh.

When I was in middle school we had a family of sisters transfer over to our school. One of them had a very sweet voice. I remember her singing a very melodious dogri song "Bhala sipariya dogariya". Everyone in school was talking about the lilting melody. We did not know it at the time but the song was originally a poem penned by Padmashree Padma Sachdev. The lyrics and music are beautiful and soothing. There is a version sung by Lata Mangeshkar on YouTube and I highly recommend you take the time and listen to it (you can use this link).

Ambal is a dish made mainly by the dogra people. It is made with yellow pumpkin and has a sweet and sour taste. This recipe has been adapted from here.

Before I made Ambal I tried the palak nadir curry. That I am sorry to say was the only dish during this entire challenge that we simply could not eat. I had to throw it away. I must have done something really wrong. Instead of trying the same recipe again I decided to switch and hit jackpot with Ambal.

You will need
1 cup cubed yellow pumpkin
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. fenugreek seeds
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
1 dried red chili pepper
a few drops of tamarind paste
1/2 tsp. jaggery
salt to taste

Heat oil in a pan and add the fenugreek seeds. When they start turning color add the red pepper and turmeric powder. Add the cubed pumpkin. Cover and cook on low heat until the pumpkin is soft. Ensure it does not burn.

Add tamarind paste dissolved in a 3 tbsp. water to the pan. Add the jaggery and salt to taste. Bring it to a boil. Turn off the heat.


This is my entry for day 11 of BM #39 for the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#39.


  1. I love Kashmir and whenever I see songs from 70 and 80's i love those sceneries from Kashmir..

    oambal is interesting and healthy

  2. Wonder what went wrong with your nadru recipe...but actually some people don't like the taste of nadru. .anyway this is a yum chutney.

  3. You are lucky that you had to throw away only one dish. I had quite a few. Ambal looks yummy.

  4. I can only imagine the lovely smell of this chutney! it looks quite easy and the only thing I am missing is the jaggery. Any suggestions on how to substitute this? Would regular sugar do?

    1. Maria, You can use sugar as a substitute. If you have brown sugar (light or dark) use it, if not use regular sugar. Let me know how it turns out.

  5. Chutney looks fantabulous, i can have this fantastic dish just with some rotis for my dinner, also love the addition of jaggery.

  6. this one is so similar to oambal recipe in north eastern states, how same ingredients travel over to other parts and take a new form..interesting

  7. Pumpkin chutney sounds innovative and interesting...

  8. It is so much similar to ombhal I made. Looks so delicious...

  9. that's a really nice way to cook pumpkin.. looks great

  10. That's a nice chutney and more than anything else I love reading about your memories..:)

  11. Lovely chutney Varada. Interesting memories too.

  12. That chutney looks yumm Varada.
    Hmm. Not sure why u didn't like palak nadir, we really enjoyed it a lot.

  13. love this spiced up pumpkin as pumpkin is one of my favorite veggies

  14. Love this pumpkin love the chutney another way to get this not much liked veggie in my kids.;)

  15. I can guess how yummy this must have tasted. We have similar version of curries using other vegetables in Andhra cuisine.

  16. I love any dish made with pumpkins. This one is really a keeper!

  17. pumkin chutney from jammu looks very tempting and delicious dear :) very interesting !!


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