Odia Dish With Pumpkin Flower And Sun-Dried Lentil Nuggets
Image Credit: Kakharu phula santula, All Lite Food @YouTube

Growing up in Odisha gave me good insight into this state's native recipes. Most of them still remain unknown to the rest of the country. The daily lunch meal in a typical Odia household consists of simple dishes. There is a profuse use of fresh and seasonal vegetables, be it in the form of bhaja (fry), tarkari (curry), dalma (lentils with vegetables) or santula. Kakharu phula, or pumpkin flower, is one such ingredient. In earlier days, when many houses used to have a backyard kitchen garden, these flowers were freshly plucked and made into delicious edibles. One of my childhood memories is about kakharu phula badi santula. It's a purely comfort food, and the simplicity of its recipe makes it a winner of hearts. 

These days the backyard kitchens are almost missing from the cityscape. Thus, one has to depend on the market to get pumpkin flowers. Since the flowers get weathered very quickly, it's ideal to use them within a few hours. 

Kakharu Phula Badi Santula


  • 1/4th cup yellow lentil 
  • 12-15 nos pumpkin flower
  • 100 grams pumpkin leaves and stems 
  • ½ cup potatoes
  • ½ cup sweet pumpkin 
  • ½ cup eggplant 
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 10 badi or lentil nuggets
  • ½ cup grated coconut
  • 2 tablespoon of onion, garlic cloves and green chilli paste
  • 1 teaspoon of panch phoran (five spice seeds blend)
  •  2 tablespoon mustard oil


Pumpkin flower and stem curry, Image Source: Firsttimercook

  1.  Remove all the inner parts of the pumpkin flowers keeping the stem intact. Chop them coarsely
  2. Chop the pumpkin leaves along with the stems. Use the green and young stems.
  3. Transfer the chop flowers, leaves and stems to a colander and wash them, allowing the excess water to drain on its own. 
  4. Soak the yellow lentil or mung dal in 2 cups of hot water for 20 minutes
  5. Wash the potatoes, brinjal and sweet pumpkin and cut them into cubes.
  6. In a wok, add the soaked lentils with the water, chopped vegetables, turmeric powder and salt to taste 
  7. Cover and let them cook for 5-7 minutes.
  8. Now introduce the pumpkin flower, leaves and stems to it. Add 1/2 cup water, and give it a thorough stir. 
  9. Cover the wok and cook for 6-8 minutes in low to medium heat. 
  10. Add the grated coconut and stir to blend all the ingredients. 
  11. Remove from the heat
  12. Heat mustard oil in another wok, fry the badi for 1 minute and remove from the oil.
  13. In the same oil, add one teaspoon of panch phoran; once it splutters, add two tablespoons of crushed onion, garlic and green chilli. 
  14. Fry for a minute till the raw smell of the garlic goes away.
  15. Add the lentil and vegetable mix into it. Add the fired badis or sun-dried lentil nuggets. Cook for a couple of minutes.

Remove from the heat and garnish with grated coconut and serve with rice.