The pumpkin flower in Bengali is known as Kumro (pumpkin) phool (flower) and boy, does it make up for one of the most prized delicacies from Bengal.
I had a golden opportunity to grow pumpkin in my kitchen garden and feasted on some garden fresh kumro phooley’r bhaja. Who would have thought that I would relish such a rare delicacy from Bengal in one of the southernmost state of India in Kerala.
My fondest memories of kumro phool is when I would visit my Dida and Dadu’s house in Chapra, Bihar during our winter school holidays. The pumpkin creeper would take up almost the entire terrace of my grandparents’ bungalow and I would pluck the flowers and give them to my mother to fry them as a snack.
We loved visiting Chapra not only because it was my mother’s hometown, but the soil and fertile soil of Bihar gave some of the best, tastiest and the freshest of vegetables that we had ever tasted that made eating home cooked food even more fun in Chapra. Since the vegetables came straight from the fields, they were tastier and obviously more fresh and we would bring back some fresh veggies like brinjal, pumpkin, potol, lady’s finger – that would last the journey without refrigeration.
Back in Kerala, I plucked the fresh pumpkin flowers and rinsed them lightly under tap water and placed them in the fridge just until lunch time. I usually make a batter out of besan, kalonji (onion seeds/ nigella seeds), salt and turmeric and dip the whole flower and deep fry it in hot mustard oil.
Serve this freshly fried flower as an accompaniment along with rice and daal combination, which is sure to hit the right cord and send you down the memory lane.