Santula is basically any vegetables cooked with less or no oil . Bhaja santula is one in which the vegetables are 1st boiled and then sauteed in a drop of oil to get a nice flavor. Kakharu is nothing but Yellow pumpkin.
Whenever I make any bhaja santula I remember this story. This story is about a friend's Aunt who lives in Cuttack. She belonged to a rich family and was in 9th or 10th grade when she got married off to budding IAS officer in the 70's. She being newly married wanted to impress her husband with her culinary skills (limited then). So she asked one of her numerous servants to cut several vegetables and leave for the day. Then she made a big Bhaja Santula of all the vegetables together and then then spent an hour separating it out before dinner. She had a huge variety of vegetables laid out as dinner and her husband was left wondering for days as to why everything tasted the same. She happens to be an awesome cook now but tells this story with a hearty laugh whenever anyone praises her culinary skills.
This is a typical oriya dish. Its pretty common as a pakhala dish too. I love the combination of sweet and spice to it...This Oriya speciality goes to FIC: Orange, hosted by Aparna.
1/2 tea spoon of oil (very less amount required)
2 tea spoon panch phutan
3-4 dry red chillies (whole)
turmeric powder - to taste
salt - to taste
red chilli powder - to taste
2 big potatoes - cut into long thin strips
a piece of yellow pumpkin - cut into fat pieces. (the quantity of poatoes should be a little more than the pumpkin after cut)
Heat oil in a pan and add dry whole red chillies and then phutan. When it starts to splutter, add the potatoes and fry for a minute. Then add the pumpkin pieces.
Stir well and add salt and turmeric and chilli powder.
Cover and cook for 10 mins or until the vegetables are nearly cooked. Then cook without the lid for 2 minutes on high heat. The dish is ready when vegetables are completely cooked.