All parts of the pumpkin plant are used to prepare tasty dishes in the Odia cuisine, such as the fruit (vegetable), leaves and blossoms (flowers). Occasionally you may find the yellow colored blossoms of pumpkin being sold in the vegetable markets of Odisha. The fries of these flowers serve as a tasty dish.
10 pumpkin blossoms
1 cup rice (arua chaula)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
1 teaspoon chilli powder
4 cloves garlic (rasuna)
1 inch ginger (ada)
1 teaspoon turmeric powder (haladi gunda)
1 cup refined cooking oil (rifaain tela
salt to taste (luna)
Carefully remove the stem, ovary and all other inner parts of pumpkin blossoms, leaving the petals i.e., the outer part only. Then wash it with water. We would fry the round shaped whole petal of each flower. To begin with, we have to prepare rice paste (pithau) with which the pumpkin flowers are to be fried. For this, soak rice in water for about half-an-hour. Make a paste of the soaked rice, cumin seeds, garlic and ginger taken together with a little water by using a grinder/ mixer. Grind it to a coarse paste till it gains consistency like the 'dosa' batter. Shift the paste into a container and add turmeric powder, chili powder and salt to taste and mix well. Keep it aside. Then heat a 'tawa' or pan on medium flame and pour a generous quantity of oil so that oil is spread all over the 'tawa'. Now soak the pumpkin flowers one by one in the rice paste and put them on the 'tawa'. After one minute turn each slice upside down and fry. If a little bit more oil is required add it, and allow all the flowers to be fried well till they turn golden brown. Your Kakharu Phula Bhaja is ready to be served.