South Indian Pumpkin Pickle

As the first of this year’s winter squash are planted out on the plot, the remaining squash from last year need using up.

As a lover of South Indian food I’ve been trying to make my own pickles. I’m not a great fan of the sweeter style chutney like Green Tomato, although judging by our family and friends reactions to the last batch of chutney, we are alone in this. Besides for the first time in ages it’s a rainy day, and what better way to spend your time?

I eventually came across a recipe that looked like it would work, and I would be able to store for at least 6 months. Many of the pickle recipes I’ve come across seeem to be only storable for a month. and as much as I like pickles, I know that we won’t get through several jars of pumpkin pickle in a month! It’s a Jamie Oliver recipe that I found on the internet, and looked like it had all the right ingredients – mustard and feenugreek seeds, ginger and garlic,and  chillies

Homemade South Indian Pumpkin Pickle


  • 2 tbl sp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp each mustard and fenugreek seeds
  • 2 medium red onions, finely sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 in piece of fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 tbl sp each ground coriander, ground cumin and turmeric
  • 14 oz can of chopped tomatoes (or grated fresh tomatoes, with the skins discarded)
  • Grated zest and juice of 6 limes
  • 12 fl oz cider vinegar
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 lb deseeded pumpkin, and chopped into small chunks
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 6 oz brown sugar

makes 1 quart / 2 pints


  • Sterilize the storage jars, and set aside
  •  Heat the oil in a saucepan that’s big enough to hold all the ingredients. When it’s smoking hot, add the mustard and
    fenugreek seeds – they should start to pop right away.
  • Stir in the onion, garlic and ginger, turn the heat down and cook slowly, stirring, till the mixture is dark brown and smells
  • Add the spices, stir-fry for a minute or so, then add the tomatoes. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for a few minutes.
  • Add the lime zest.
  • Pour the lime juice into the pan and add the cider vinegar.
  • Add the chillies and pumpkin, and bring back to the boil.
  • Pat the seal of the jar dry with kitchen paper, fit it back onto the lids and have the jar standing by.
  • When the pumpkin is just cooked, lift it out with a slotted spoon into a clean mixing bowl and set aside.
  • Add the salt and sugar to the pan, and continue cooking till the liquid is reduced and thick.
  • Fold the pumpkin back into the mix, making sure it’s nice and hot before turning the heat off.
  • Spoon the pumpkin pickle into the sterilized jar while everything’s still hot. Wipe the rim of the jar and seal it. Leave to cool, and it will be ready to eat in a few weeks’ time.


Cooking times

  • The onion mix took at least ½ hour on a low heat to get them to the dark brown stage mentioned in the recipe.
  • Cooking the pumpkin will depend on how big the chunks are, what variety is used, and how long the pumpkin was stored. I used a mixture of 2 pumpkins – a Festival and a Potimarron. The Festival was very dry and flaky, while the Potimarron was much juicier. Approx. 20 to 40 minutes


  • Add a generous handful of chopped Curry leaves to the onion mix
  • Add a pinch of Asafoetida



Submit a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s