Nagpur's Baakar Bhaaji Celebrates Local Maharashtrian Pumpkins

Nagpuri Baakar Bhaaji is a popular dish in the city of Nagpur in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, known for its rich and flavorful taste and festive spirit. Made from pumpkin, this dish is both nutritious and delicious, making it an ideal choice for health-conscious individuals.

The main ingredient in Nagpuri Baakar Bhaaji is pumpkin, a type of winter squash that is abundant in the region. Pumpkin is rich in essential vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium, and iron. It is also low in calories and high in fibre, making it an ideal food for people who are trying to maintain a healthy weight.

It also features the signature black Goda Masala and Marathi Brahmin spice blend that’s made with the black stone flower, a lichen that imparts a unique earthy flavour. This spice is easily available in most parts of the state or can be made at home. 


  • 2 cups pumpkin, cubed and with the skin on 
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped 
  • 2 tbsp dried coconut, grated
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds 
  • 1 tsp chironji seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander stem, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp goda masala
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder 
  • 1 tbsp tamarind extract
  • 2 tsp jaggery
  • 4 tbsp sesame or vegetable oil 
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds 
  • A pinch of hing
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped


  • Toast the dried coconut in a dry pan over a medium flame until lightly browned. Take off the heat and set aside until required.
  • In the same pan, toast the poppy seeds and chironji seeds over a low flame until fragrant. Take off the heat and set aside.
  • In a mortar and pestle or a small mixer jar, place the coconut, poppy seeds and chironji seeds together, and blend to a coarse powder without adding any water at all.
  •  In a mixing bowl, place the onions, coriander stem, coconut-poppy seed-chironji seed mixture, tamarind, jaggery, salt, red chilli powder and goda masala and mix well, massaging the onions in order to release their juices.
  • Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the mustard seeds, asafoetida and turmeric powder. Add the onion mixture immediately. Sauté over a medium flame until the onions begin to look translucent. Tip in the pumpkin and toss to coat well. Turn the flame down to low.
  • Cover the pan with a large plate or thali with walled sides. Fill this plate halfway up with water. This will create condensation inside the pan and help the pumpkin cook without