Curried Kabocha Squash Recipe Maharashtrian Bakar Bhaji

Do try this distinctive vegetarian, vegan and gluten free dish with the flavors of Maharashtra, India.

Curried Kabocha Squash Recipe also called Bhoplyachi bakar bhaji from Maharashtra, India.
Curried Kabocha Squash Recipe is a bakar bhaji from Maharashtra, India.

A new Thai place opened in our town recently, so of course we had to go check it out, right? I ordered a curry dish which had kabocha squash in it. This was my introduction to this unique, nutty tasting squash. The flavor of this squash lingers on the tongue and has a pleasant aftertaste.

So, the next time I wanted to make Thai curry at home, I got the kabocha squash. My husband does not share my enthusiasm for this squash, so I mixed it with our other favorite veggies in the Thai curry.

 The squash has a thick skin that is hard to cut through, but the skin does not have to be removed, as it is soft when cooked and helps the squash retain its shape.

Even though I got the smallest kabocha squash, I had 4 cups of the squash pieces leftover. So, I decided to try the bakar bhaji from the state of Maharashtra, well known for its scrumptious masala.

Masala is a combination of spices. In this case the masala for the bakar is made with roasted dry coconut, peanuts, poppy seeds, sesame seeds and spices.

Curried Kabocha Squash Recipe is a bakar bhaji from Maharashtra, India.
Aaah! The aroma of the freshly pounded masala !

Tamarind pulp and jaggery balance the sour and sweet, making it one delectable vegetable dish to enjoy! This recipe makes sure you have plenty of the distinctive masala gravy to dunk your chapati bread into or have it with the rice.

Curried Kabocha Squash Recipe is a bakar bhaji from Maharashtra, India.
Curried Kabocha Squash Recipe is a bakar bhaji from Maharashtra, India.

Curried Kabocha Squash/ Maharashtrian Bakar Bhaji

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons dry shredded coconut
  • ½ teaspoon paprika or Kashmiri chili powder
  • 2 tablespoon peanuts. I used the dry roasted, skinned peanuts.
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds/ methi seeds
  • ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1/8 teaspoon asafetida powder/hing
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder (or to taste)
  • 4 (8 oz.) cups of kabocha squash pieces. I cut them into 1-inch pieces with the skin
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cups of hot water
  • 2 teaspoons goda masala
  • 2 teaspoons tamarind pulp
  • 2 teaspoons jaggery powder 

To make the Curried Kabocha Squash/ Maharashtrian Bakar Bhaji

  1. Dry roast the poppy seeds, sesame seeds separately on low heat until you smell the aroma, about 1~2 minutes. Remove from pan. Add the coconut and dry roast it. Add the paprika, stir for 30 seconds, and remove. If using unroasted peanuts, roast them separately. Combine all roasted ingredients. Let the mixture cool.
  2. Pound the mixture with a mortar and pestle or grind in a dry grinder. Set aside.
  3. In a sauce pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the fenugreek/methi seeds. They will turn a rosy color and you will smell the aroma of the methi. Then add the mustard seeds, let them splutter and add the asafetida/ hing, turmeric and chili powders. Stir 30 seconds and add the squash pieces.
  4. Add the hot water and salt to taste. Let it come to a boil, then cover and let it cook on low heat for 5 minutes or until the squash is cooked and tender, but not mushy.
  5. Uncover, add the goda masala, the pounded bakar masala, tamarind pulp and jaggery , stir and simmer for a minute to assimilate flavors.
  6. Serve with chappatis or rice and dal.

Once you taste this curried squash/ pumpkin, you will know why it is such a popular dish from Maharashtra, India.


Enjoy! Have a great weekend!




46 thoughts on “Curried Kabocha Squash Recipe Maharashtrian Bakar Bhaji

Add yours

  1. This looks so delicious and unique recipe. Though we cook this squash at home quite often I never tried it this way. Can’t wait to try making it the Maharashtrian style.


  2. Oh yes! The smell of freshly grounded masala is just amazing… It is nice to incorporate a lesser known ingredient in a homely style. That gravy would be amazing with some steamed rice…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Always made the sweet and sour squash recipe in Punjabi style; but, this gravy with Maharashtrain flavors loaded with sesame seeds and peanuts look absolutely enticing. Would love to give it a try soon

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Any curry that has poppy seeds, sesame seeds and coconut is a winner with me. Such a wonderful curried kobacha squash curry. Had no idea that one could cook it with the skin. Come to think of it makes sense as it does become soft on cooking and prevents the pumpkin from becoming mushy.


  5. Squash is a favourite at home…yours looks so delicious!! Freshly pound masala definitely takes the curry to the next level!! Can’t wait to try it out in my kitchen. That mortar and pestle is calling my name 🙊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Padma, you are like me! I love mortars and pestles too 🙂 Yes the freshly ground masala tastes awesome in this subji. Do let me know how you like it.


  6. I m salivating as i read tamarind pulp and jaggery balances the dish so well!!! My god, what a lovely dish, i have never cooked squash with its skin! i m definitely trying this simple dish soon!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. wow.. they look so delicious and tempting. Freshly pounded masala takes the dish to another level. Thanks for sharing simple and delicious curry

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Fully agreed Sandhya !!! “Homemade freshly ground masala” ka baat hi kuch aur hi hai 🙂 Such a delicious and unique recipe for me. Love to make sometime this Maharashtrian dish…..


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