Lal Bhoplyache Bharit, microwave version (Maharashtrian style Red-pumpkin dip)

Pumpkin with the tempering added..

Pumpkin with the tempering added..

Cooked in the microwave, lal bhoplyachi bhaji..

Cooked in the microwave, lal bhoplyachi bhaji..

Lal Bhoplyache Bharit..

Lal Bhoplyache Bharit..

A lot of my friends and family members often complain about how Microwave cooking is unsuitable for Indian cooking; and how most of them end up using the microwave just for reheating food. I agree with them partly, owing to the fact that the technique of making a tadka/phodni/vaghar or tempering of spices in oil, which is so central to Indian cooking cannot be achieved in a microwave, where the cook doesn’t really have direct control over the heat.

However, that said and done, I still find it a very useful way to cook many Indian dishes; either for doing some early preps; or for cooking the entire dish, either after separately adding the tadka, or finding suitable alternatives. I find it extremely convenient when I am stretched for time to finish all my cooking, as cooking time is very less and secondly, it gives me an alternative when my gas stoves are occupied.

This pumpkin recipe is a regular feature in our family meals, especially during religious festivals like the Gauri pooja (during Ganesh festival) when several different types of salads and raitas are a part of offering to the goddesses. Although this one isn’t a bharit/bharta in the truest sense, for its more like a koshimbir or raita as it contains yogurt, I guess it’s the mashing step in the recipe that gives it the name. I really like this one, as this traditional recipe has a nice blend of different flavors, the sweetness from the pumpkin, heat from the chilies, acidity from the yougurt, bitterness from the fenugreek seeds and ofcourse saltiness; and in that way it does justice to the ayurvedic principle of incorporating all the different tastes in order to achieve a wholesome balance.

In this recipe, I have made a tadka separately and then done the cooking in the microwave. If you do not wish to use the microwave, you can cook the pumpkin with the tadka on a slow flame, while keeping the pan covered as well.


250g Pumpkin (Laal Bhopla), peeled and chopped into 1”pieces;

½ tbsp crushed roasted peanuts;

3-4 green chilies or as per your taste (Hirvi mirchi/hari mirch), finely chopped;

1/4th tsp mustard seeds (mohri/rai);

½ tsp fenugreek seeds (Methi dana);

4-5 curry leaves;

A pinch of asafetida;

1tbsp yogurt;

½ tbsp oil;

Salt to taste.


  1. Place the chopped pumpkin in a microwave safe bowl (meant for cooking, not the ones used for reheating, as they cannot withstand the longer cooking time required).
  2. Heat a small kadhai (wok) and then heat oil in it till it reaches a smoking temperature.
  3. Lower the heat and add mustard and fenugreek seeds to oil and allow them to splutter.
  4. Now add curry leaves, green chilies and asafetida to the tempering and allow to cook for a few seconds.
  5. Pour this hot tempering over the pumpkin in the microwave safe bowl and toss evenly.
  6. Place the bowl in the microwave and cook on high power for two minutes. Remove from the oven and mix well again. Return to the microwave and cook on high power for two more minutes.
  7. Allow it to stand for a minute in the microwave. Then remove and add salt and crushed peanuts. Mix well and microwave on high for another minute; followed by a standing time of about two more minutes.
  8. Remove the bowl and allow it to cool. At this point, the dish can be served as it is as a curry on the sides. Else, proceed further for the dip.
  9. Mash the pumpkin with the back of a spoon and then add the yogurt to it.
  10. Mix well and serve as a dip or a salad.

3 comments on “Lal Bhoplyache Bharit, microwave version (Maharashtrian style Red-pumpkin dip)

  1. Aruna Panangipally
    June 20, 2015

    This is one of my favourite raitas, Nitali. 🙂


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