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Lal Bhopala Bharit (Red Pumpkin Bharit)

Pumpkin is low in calories and high in nutrition, especially fibre and beta carotene. It can help with weight loss because of its fibre content which provides a feeling of satiety without adding calories. The bold orange color of a ripe pumpkin indicates it is rich in beta-carotene, which is a provitamin and a powerful antioxidant used by the body to make vitamin A. Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals — atoms that cause tiny injuries to cells. Over time, the damage can lead to diseases like cancer or wrinkling of the skin as an aging process. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, keeping them from harming our body cells keeping your body in better health and looking younger. If tumor cells do start to form, beta-carotene works to hinder their growth. Beta-carotene also triggers the body to release natural killer cells that attack and destroy tumors. So all in all, you should include pumpkin as a regular vegetable in your diet.

Recipe: Darshana Muzumdar

Serves 4 as part of a traditional Indian meal


  • 500 gms red pumpkin, seeds removed and cut into big pieces without peeling
  • 2 green chillies (use more if the chillies are mild)
  • ½ tbsp jaggery
  • 1 large onion chopped finely
  • 1 large lime sized ball tamarind
  • 1 cup grated fresh coconut
  • Salt to taste


  • Wash gently and soak the tamarind in enough warm water to just cover it for half an hour or so. Rub this through a strainer to remove the inedible parts and keep aside.
  • Wash the chillies and slit them lengthwise or chop them into small pieces. Add these to the pumpkin cubes and jaggery and steam or boil them with 1 tablespoon of water till soft. This doesn’t take long as pumpkin cooks fast. Make sure you don’t add too much water as the pumpkin releases water when cooked.
  • Mash this gently with the back of a spoon to mash it.
  • Add the chopped onions, coconut, tamarind paste and salt to taste. Mix gently once again to get a uniform mixture of all the ingredients.
  • You can smoke this bharit with a smoking piece of coal. Heat the piece of coal over a hot flame. Once it is red, put it on a small amount of the bharit on a plate or in a bowl. Pour a teaspoon of coconut oil on the piece of coal and cover it with the rest of the bharit. Remove the piece of coal after a minute or so.

For the Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) version:

  • Use unrefined salt like rock salt.
  • Use dates instead of the jaggery.
  • Do not smoke it.

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