Prepared with pumpkin flower, stems and leaves along with badi, this Odia santula dish is a comfort food
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
Pumpkin flower and stem curry, Image Source: Firsttimercook
Remove from the heat and garnish with grated coconut and serve with rice.