Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1½ hours
This is also delicious made with butternut squash or sweet potatoes.
1 pumpkin, about 2 pounds, preferably a Hokkaido
Extra-virgin olive oil
⅔ cup finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
½ teaspoon coriander seeds
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
½ teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
2 bay leaves
½ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup light muscovado sugar
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch smoked paprika
Fine sea salt
Sunflower oil or another neutral oil, for frying
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons garbanzo bean flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon chopped tarragon
¼ teaspoon coriander seeds
Cut the pumpkin into quarters and remove the seeds. Cut 7 ounces into 3/8-inch cubes for the bhajis and finely dice 10 ounces for the chutney (about 2 cups cubes and 2 ½ cups finely diced). Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
To Make the Pumpkin Chutney
Heat a film of oil in a saucepan. Stir in the onions and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger, cooking until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the coriander, fennel, and mustard seeds, continuing to stir and cook until they are also fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes more.
Add the bay leaves, pumpkin, vinegar, and sugar. If the mixture looks dry, add a few tablespoons of water, keeping in mind there will be additional liquid as the sugar melts and the pumpkin cooks. Simmer, adjusting the heat as needed, and stirring occasionally until the pumpkin is tender, the mixture has thickened, and the flavors meld, about 40 minutes. Add water as needed if it becomes too thick.
Remove from the heat and let cool while preparing the bhajis. The chutney can also be made in advance, transferred to a clean jar, and refrigerated for a few days.
To Make the Pumpkin Bhajis
Mix the pumpkin cubes with the garlic, ginger, olive oil, smoked paprika, and a generous pinch of salt. (Depending on your preference, a bit more paprika can be added.) Bake until the pumpkin is tender, about 30 minutes.
Let cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, fit a high-sided saucepan with a deep-fat/candy thermometer and bring 1½ to 2 inches of oil to 375˚F.
Mix the flour, baking powder, and just enough cold water to make a thick batter. Stir in the tarragon and coriander.
Fold the pumpkin into the batter. Using a tablespoon, drop about one-eighth of the batter with the pumpkin into the hot oil, adding additional portions to the oil but not overcrowding the pan. Turn them as they cook until they are golden brown on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch.
Serve the bhajis hot with the chutney on the side.