How to Make Sun-Dried White Pumpkin and Lentil Fritters (Kumbalakai Shandige)

Updated on May 28, 2020
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I like to cook and eat natural, healthy, and tasty foods. I use minimal oil and don't use artificial colors or preservatives in my cooking.

Sun-dried white pumpkin and lentil fritters (kumbalakai shandige)
Sun-dried white pumpkin and lentil fritters (kumbalakai shandige)

White Pumpkin and Lentil Fritters

Crispy and spicy, white pumpkin (ash gourd) and lentil fritters make an excellent side dish for any meal. These fritters go by several different names in the local language, including boodu kumbalkai shandige and uddina shandige.

Usually, these fritters are not deep-fried, which makes them healthier. They are roasted in a pan and sprinkled with a few drops of oil.

Making these fritters takes quite a bit of time and energy, but it's worth it because you can make them in large batches and then serve them on multiple occasions. Whenever you desire, take a bowl of these fritters and roast them in a small pan, and use them as a main or side dish. Eating hot rice with these roasted fritters is a meal by itself.

Make these fritters on a sunny day for best results.

Word of Caution

White pumpkin (ash gourd) fritter batter needs to be very spicy. You may feel a burning sensation if you touch the batter with your fingers, but you have to keep the batter very spicy because once it's dried, it loses some of its spiciness.

How to prevent burning sensation: Apply some oil to your fingers and palms, or wear a glove before touching the batter.

White pumpkin (ash gourd) and lentil fritters, ready to be sun-dried
White pumpkin (ash gourd) and lentil fritters, ready to be sun-dried
5 stars for White Pumpkin and Lentil Fritters

Ingredients

  • 2 big cups dehusked split black lentils (urad dal), washed and soaked in fresh water for 3-4 hours
  • 1 big cup raw mango, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 big cup ash gourd (white pumpkin), peeled and grated
  • 25-30 green chilies
  • Peanut-sized amount of asafetida (hing powder)
  • 3 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon oil, for greasing the plastic sheet
  • 4 tablespoons buttermilk or curd, for wetting the plastic sheet

Step 1: Make the Batter

  1. Wash the urad dal. Add fresh water and soak for 3-4 hours. I did this in the morning at about 5:00 a.m.
  2. Gather all the other ingredients and keep them handy.
  3. Strain the urad dal. Grind it into a wet grinder, adding a very small amount of soaking water (only if needed). In the last rounds of grinding, sprinkle a few drops of water to make the batter fluffy and light.
  4. Grate the white pumpkin (ash gourd) flesh. Set aside.
  5. Grind the chopped mango and green chilies together in a blender or mixer to get a smooth paste. No need to add water while grinding. Set aside.
  6. When the lentil batter is smooth, add hing (asafetida), ground chili-mango paste, grated ash gourd, and salt. Grind it for 1 or 2 rounds only; otherwise, the lentil loses the fluffiness due to the ash gourd and mango sourness. To avoid this, either grind only until the batter is just mixed, or pour the lentil batter into a container and mix other items.
  7. Check for taste. The batter should be spicier than the end product; it will lose some spiciness after drying. These fritters won't shrink much after drying, though, so use the proper portion of salt.
  8. I finished making the fritter batter at about 10 a.m. and immediately started baking it under the sun.

Step 1: Photo Guide

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Step one: Grind the soaked dehusked black lentils (urad dal)Step two: Grind the green chilies and chopped raw mango together in a mixer or blenderStep three: Grate the ash gourd and set aside.Step four: Pour the lentil batter into a vessel. Add the chili-mango paste, ash gourd puree, salt, and hing (asafetida). Mix well.
Step one: Grind the soaked dehusked black lentils (urad dal)
Step one: Grind the soaked dehusked black lentils (urad dal)
Step two: Grind the green chilies and chopped raw mango together in a mixer or blender
Step two: Grind the green chilies and chopped raw mango together in a mixer or blender
Step three: Grate the ash gourd and set aside.
Step three: Grate the ash gourd and set aside.
Step four: Pour the lentil batter into a vessel. Add the chili-mango paste, ash gourd puree, salt, and hing (asafetida). Mix well.
Step four: Pour the lentil batter into a vessel. Add the chili-mango paste, ash gourd puree, salt, and hing (asafetida). Mix well.

Step 2: Make the Fritters

  1. Mix the oil and buttermilk in a glass. If you are using curd or yogurt, add water to make it thin. Sprinkle this mix on a plastic sheet. This step makes it easier to detach the fritters from the plastic once they have dried.
  2. Place the plastic sheet in a sunny area. Start pouring a teaspoon at a time of batter on the sheet, one near the other. You can shape them using your fingers (refer to the photo). The fritters should dry under the sun for the entire day,
  3. By evening, you can observe that at least a few of them will detach from the sheet. Don't force them to detach. Keep the sheet under a fan at night. The next day, once again dry them under the sun. In 2-3 days they will have dried completely and become crispy.
  4. After the first day of sun-drying, you can try to dry them under a fan. However, sun-dried fritters will stay fresh for a long time in an airtight container. They will stay fresh for years!

Step 2: Photo Guide

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Step one: Start with the prepared ash gourd and lentil fritter batter.Step two: Pour the batter on a greased plastic sheet to form small flakes. Sun-dry them.Step three: This is what my fritters looked like after one day of drying in the sun. Step four: Dried ash gourd and lentil frittersStep five: Completely dried fritters, ready to preserve in an airtight container.
Step one: Start with the prepared ash gourd and lentil fritter batter.
Step one: Start with the prepared ash gourd and lentil fritter batter.
Step two: Pour the batter on a greased plastic sheet to form small flakes. Sun-dry them.
Step two: Pour the batter on a greased plastic sheet to form small flakes. Sun-dry them.
Step three: This is what my fritters looked like after one day of drying in the sun.
Step three: This is what my fritters looked like after one day of drying in the sun.
Step four: Dried ash gourd and lentil fritters
Step four: Dried ash gourd and lentil fritters
Step five: Completely dried fritters, ready to preserve in an airtight container.
Step five: Completely dried fritters, ready to preserve in an airtight container.

Step 3: Roast the Fritters to Serve

Whenever you desire a spicy side dish, roast some of the sun-dried fritters in a pan and sprinkle some oil or butter over them. They are yummy, healthy, and flavorful.

Step 3: Photo Guide

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Take out some of the dried fritters and roast them on low fire. Sprinkle some oil on roasted fritters.Spicy and crunchy ash gourd and lentil fritters ready for eating!
Take out some of the dried fritters and roast them on low fire. Sprinkle some oil on roasted fritters.
Take out some of the dried fritters and roast them on low fire. Sprinkle some oil on roasted fritters.
Spicy and crunchy ash gourd and lentil fritters ready for eating!
Spicy and crunchy ash gourd and lentil fritters ready for eating!

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