07 November, 2011

Kembude Kai Bendhi | Pumpkin and Cashews in Coconut Gravy Recipe

Kembude Bendhi/Pumpkin and Cashews in Coconut Gravy
In our home we love spicy food. The hotter better is the slogan which we follow for most of the time when we prepare food in our beloved kitchen. A pot after pots of hot fiery food is churned every day which we enjoy cooking, eating and sharing with our friends. A tall glass of sweet or spicy Lassi (yogurt based drink) usually served with most times completes our meal.

But days after days after eating fiery hot curries and spicy food, I craved for some simple, light and mild food. And so did my ‘much’ better half. After all one’s stomach can take only so much of spicy food! The solution was to cook some simple, homely food. A food that pleases one’s palette and sooths one’s stomach, simple, creamy and lip-smacking Pumpkin and Cashews in Coconut Gravy Curry. This Pumpkin and Cashews in Coconut Gravy is traditionally known as Kembude Kai Bendhi (pronounced as ben-dh-e) in Udupi-Mangalorean household and the authentic recipe has no chillies used in the gravy. The base is smoothly ground fresh sweet coconut and cumin seeds. My mother adds one small mild tasting green chilli in her recipe and I have followed her recipe here. Melt in mouth pumpkin and nutty bite of cashews makes this simple dish heavenly.

Kembude Bendhi/Pumpkin and Cashews in Coconut Gravy

A closer look at creamy Kembude Bendhi/Pumpkin and Cashews in Coconut Gravy

These photos of Kembude Bendhi or Pumpkin and Cashews in Coconut Gravy were taken last year when I visited my parent’s home with tiny Lil Dumpling. The pumpkin used is as fresh and as organic as it can get as it was freshly plucked from my Dad’s vegetable garden and used with in an hour! Fresh, home grown and 100% organic! Ah, can anything get better than this? YES, if you ask me! The cashews and coconut were from my parent’s estate, turmeric was home grown, dried and powdered, green chilli and curry leaves were from my Amma’s herbal garden and even Coconut oil used for tadka or tempering was made using home grown coconuts that are pressed in local shop! Don’t envy me as staying away from home means I miss all these best, natural things. But it is absolutely wonderful to see my parents making such great effort to reduce their carbon foot print by growing organic vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices and also shopping locally! I have a long way to go before I can become self sufficient like them, to some extent if not one hundred percent! I find it absolutely wonderful and also feel relieved to see people like my parents who still embrace the local produce with love and passion… We need more people like them if we are to save our planet!

Home grown Pumpkin, Cashew Nuts and fresh Coconut

Delicious Kembude Bendhi/Pumpkin and Cashews in Coconut Gravy

Some lovely flowers from my Amma’s beautiful garden

Kembude Bendhi or Pumpkin and Cashews in Coconut Gravy (A traditional Udupi/Mangalorean dish of pumpkin and cashews cooked in simple creamy coconut gravy)
Prep Time: 5-10 mins
Cooking Time: 15 mins
Serves: 3-4 people
Spice Level: Mild
Recipe Level: Easy/Beginner
Shelf Life: Best when served fresh but can be stored in fridge for up to 2 days
Recipe Source: Amma
Serving Suggestion: With Rosematta rice or any other rice and pickle

½ medium sized tender Pumpkin, seeds removed and cut into 1 inch cubes (approx 4-5 cups)
½ cup Cashew Nuts, broken
Small pinch of Haldi/Turmeric Powder (optional)
Salt to taste

For Coconut Gravy:
1 cup grated Coconut, fresh or frozen
1 Green Chilli (optional)
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds

For Tadka/Tempering:
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 dried Red Chilli, broken
Few Curry Leaves
½ tbsp Oil (Preferably Coconut Oil)

Creamy Kembude Bendhi/Pumpkin and Cashews in Coconut Gravy
  1. Take pumpkin pieces in a vessel and pour enough water to cover them. Add salt to taste and cook them covered till they are almost cooked. It takes around 8 minutes on medium heat.
  2. While the pumpkin is cooking, take grated coconut, cumin seeds and green chilli, if using, in a mixer grinder and grind them to smooth paste by adding very little water. Keep it aside.
  3. Once the pumpkin is almost cooked, add cashew nuts and mix in ground coconut paste. Add little more water to get the required consistency and cook for 3-4 minutes till small bubble starts to appear on the surface. Immediately turn off the gas as the over boiled coconut gravy will start to disintegrate and will not taste good.
  4. Heat oil in a pan and add all the tadka/tempering ingredients one by one. When mustard seeds starts to pop and splutter, transfer the contents to coconut gravy and mix it well. Cover and let it rest for 5-10 minutes for all the flavours to blend well.
  5. Serve this mild, creamy and delicious Pumpkin and Cashew Nuts in coconut Gravy or Kembude Kai Bendhi with rice and pickle and relish every spoonful.

Kembude Bendhi/Pumpkin and Cashews in Coconut Gravy

Sia’s Note:
  • Addition of green chilli while preparing the coconut paste is optional as chilli is not used in traditional Bendhi recipes.
  • This mild Kembude Kai Bendhi or Pumpkin and Cashews in Coconut Gravy is served at the end of meal (after Rasam and Sambar) to sooth the stomach after tasting fiery hot curries.


  1. That dish looks delicious and tasty! I love the ingredients you used.



  2. I just bought the same pumpkin from puttur santhe today :) I am going to be making something and blogging it soon.
    Bendhi looks mouth watering!

  3. Wonderful way to enjoy Kaddu! I make pumpkin in yogurt gravy..but this certainly look delightful.
    Lite Bite

  4. This is new for me.curry looks delicious

  5. Ooo.., that's making me hungry, that's new to me, Kumbalkaayi and cashew!, If I ever I get hold of pumpkin this will be on my list first, I love and keep looking for everyday cooking...

  6. Curry looks creamy and delicious...

  7. Perfect dish for the pumpkin season!

  8. Hey sia, already bookmarked this... i am gonna try this soon!!

  9. Looks very delicious...I mean seriously finger licking gd:)

  10. lovely side dish with pumpkins


  11. Hi Sia,
    Awesome pictures & mouth watering recipe. One of my friend( Mangalorean)used to prepare this often.Now i have to try this( afraid of coconut milk) ..... once in a while it is ok. So will update soon. Thanks for the yummy Kembude kai Bendhi


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