Kakharu Danka Rai | Pumpkin Stem in Mustard paste

Well rainy season is going on in India. And there is greenery all around. So to match that the Healthy Wellthy Cuisines group this time has come up with the 74th theme as “Green Mela at HW” which is suggested by Poonam. She is such a sweet blogger friend of mine who blogs at Annapurna. Her blog is basically a vegetarian collections and among all I always like her regional dishes most. So as per the theme we have to make dishes using green leaves simply or even mixed with any other vegetables, so here I have prepared Kakharu Danka Rai / Pumpkin Stem in Mustard paste from Odia cuisine.

Pumpkin is named as ‘Kakharu‘ and it’s stem as ‘Danka‘ in odia language. So in this curry both the stem as well as the leaves of the pumpkins are used. Also some vegetables like potato, colocasia, tomato, ridge gourd, pumpkin, eggplant etc are used. The base of the dish is a paste of mustard seeds. Here the used paste is called as Rai in odia. Basically the paste is prepared using mustard seeds, garlic cloves and red chilies / green chilies. I have already shared some posts using rai as Manja Rai / Banana Stem Curry in Mustard Paste, Ambula Rai / Sun-dried Raw Mango Raita.

The leaves of the pumpkin is first separated from the pumpkin stem. Then those leaves are washed well to remove any dirt like mud, even tiny insects. The vegetables along with the chopped pumpkin leaves and stems are allowed to cook along with the paste prepared using mustard seeds. Finally a tempering of garlic, pancha putana / panch phoron (a mixture of Cumin, Mustard, Fenugreek, Nigella and Fennel seeds) in mustard oil is added to enhance the flavor of the whole dish. Completely vegan and gluten free side dish is this. One can make the dish little watery or even dry kind, I have kept little watery here. Both versions are thoroughly enjoyed along with some steamed rice-dal combo.

Recipe Card for ‘Kakharu Danka Rai | Pumpkin Stem in Mustard paste ‘ :

Odia side dish, Pumpkin leaves, pumpkin stem, mustard paste, rai, kakharu danka rai, Garlic, Mustrad oil

Side dish, Vegan, Gluten free, Odia cuisine, Pumpkin



Kakharu Danka Rai / Pumpkin Stem in Mustard paste

an odia side dish using pumpkin leaves and stem in mustard paste

prep time: 20 Mcook time: 30 Mtotal time: 50 M


  • Pumpkin stem (with leaves attached) 2 no.
  • Potato (large) 1 no.
  • Colocasia (medium) 1 no.
  • Pumpkin (cut into cubes) 3/4 cup
  • Tomato (medium) (optional) 1 no.
  • Garlic clove 3-4 no.
  • Mustard seed 2 tsp
  • Whole red chili 2 no.
  • Panch phoron 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
  • Mustard oil 2 tsp
  • Salt as needed
  • Water as needed


How to cook Kakharu Danka Rai / Pumpkin Stem in Mustard paste

  1. First wash and peel the potatoes, colocasia. Cut into cube size, keep aside.
  2. Next separate the leaves from the pumpkin stem and clean it to remove any dirts like mud.
  3. Cut the stem into 2 inch length and also roughly chopped the pumpkin leaves.
  4. Make a fine paste of mustard seeds, 1 whole red chili, 2 garlic cloves and a little amount of water. Keep aside.
  5. Heat 1 tsp mustard oil in a kadhai.
  6. Put all the cut vegetables like potato, pumpkin, chopped tomatoes, colocasia, pumpkin stems, pumpkin leaves along with salt and turmeric powder.
  7. Mix everything and cover the kadhai for 3-4 minutes to cook the vegetables a bit.
  8. Then add the mustard paste, few amount of water and mix well again.
  9. Cover the kadhai and allow to cook till the vegetables are well done.
  10. Now in a tadka pan heat 1 tsp mustard oil.
  11. When oil is hot enough add 1 whole red chili and slightly pressed garlic cloves (2-3 no.).
  12. Saute for 1 minutes and then add panch phoron.
  13. After the seeds of the panch phoron starts to crackle, add this tempering to the kadhai.
  14. Again cook for the 1 minute more and turn off heat.
  15. Serve hot with steamed rice-dal combo !


In the tempering, crushed garlic can be used instead of whole garlic cloves which I have just slightly pressed here.
Any other vegetables like ridge gourd, eggplant etc also one can add.
Mustard oil brings an aromatic flavor to the whole dish. So this oil is highly recommended.
Tomato is optional here. I love to add this for little tangy in the dish.

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  1. Poonam Bachhav

    Never heard of a dish wirg Pumpkin leaves and stems. Thanks for introducing this new dish to us Sasmita. The curry looks super delicious and with so many veggies going in I am sure it is healthy too.

  2. Swati

    Very new dish for me and the ingredients too. I have never used pumpkin leaves and stem in cooking. Curry base of mustard seeds too is new to me.. very interesting and nutritious dish with so many healthy veggies going in it..

  3. Ruchi's Veg Kitchen

    Wow pumpkin leaves and stem in a curry … Sounds so unique and must be flavourful. Loved the recipe . Looks so delicious… Thank you for sharing such lovely recipe

  4. jayashree

    This sound so flavoursome and it is healthy with so many veggies. I love the flavour that panch poran gives to the dish.

  5. Lata Lala

    Pumpkin leaves and stem in a curry … is it? It's such a unique recipe. I have never heard about this dish. It must be so flavourful hai na .
    Thank you for sharing such a great recipe.

  6. Indfused

    I love mixed veggie subjis like these and this is such a unique dish with the pumpkin stems. I look forward to trying it.

  7. Motions and Emotions
    Motions and Emotions

    Odia and Bengali cuisine has lot of similarities…we too prepare a similar tarkari using kumro shak and mustard paste… Your curry looks superb

  8. Mayuri Patel

    Such an interesting preparation Sasmita. I've never used pumpkin leaves and stems in any of my cooking. I would love to enjoy this healthy kakharu danka rai with some hot rotis.

  9. Priya Srinivasan - I Camp in My Kitchen
    Priya Srinivasan - I Camp in My Kitchen

    Wow, first of all love that name, i m trying to say it again and again! This curry with pumpkin leaves and stems is totally new!! how did you source it? here in the market we dont get the leaves!! such a rustic dish, must taste amazing with hot rice/roti's!!! 🙂

  10. Shalu

    Wonderful share!! Never heard of this. Something very unique and interesting.

  11. Narmadha

    Wow.. so interesting recipe and never heard cooking with pumpkin stem. Looks absolutely scrumptious

  12. Anshu

    Pumpkin leaves and stem that too in mustard paste?? Wow! looks so interesting and delicious. Never have made or tried such recipe before. Would surely love to give it a try once….

  13. Hayley

    I have never heard about this recipe, sounds so tasty and wholesome. I bet it goes so well with garma garam paratha.

  14. Seema

    Mum used to make so many pumpkin leaf recipes. I am waiting for mypumpkin plant to grow this spring and i can try your recipe as well, looks exciting with the mustard paste.

  15. Lathiya

    I never know that we can cook pumpkin stem. The curry looks delicious and new to me.

  16. cookingwithsapana

    Never knew you could cook with pumpkin stems, we do use the peels though. This mustard paste curry looks absolutely delicious.

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Myself Sasmita, a techie turns to a food blogger which is reflected in this space.

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