Photo by Charlotte Peale

Photo by Charlotte Peale

Pumpkin Cuisine

Pumpkin may not be the first thing you think of with Nepalese or Indian cuisine, but it’s on the menu in abundance at Himalayan Tandoori and Curry House, a bright, pleasant spot at 1645 Solano Avenue in Berkeley. The organic pumpkins, cauliflower, squash, and other vegetables in many of the dishes come from Nepalese owner Rajesh Moktan’s organic garden in Sebastopol, where Moktan owns another restaurant with the same name. According to manager Umesh Manandhar, the “pumpkins” are kabocha squash. And when the restaurants have gone through Moktan’s harvest, the chefs supplement with produce from Monterey Market. The end result in all the dishes is rich and extremely flavorful. Offerings are mainly Indian, with a few Nepalese dishes and what Manandhar describes as “Nepalese spicing.” The organic pumpkin dishes are varied enough to merit a full-page insert in the menu. Any of the masala dishes, like pumpkin chicken masala, or simply pumpkin masala, are particularly tasty; creamy and rich with spices. Portions are on the small side for the price, but come with rice (white or brown) and are satisfying and filling.

—Kristina Sepetys