Teppal is generally not ground in a masala or eaten. It is used fresh when in season then dried and stored for future use. The inner berry is discarded and the outer layer is crushed lightly and added (by itself or mixed with water) to a vegetarian or non vegetarian curry. Of course this dish is still worth a try without teppal so I'd suggest giving a smoky 'tadka' of garlic in coconut oil to compensate.
1 cup large pumpkin cubes (use leaves too if fresh)
1 cup split red gram (tur dal)
1/4 cup coconut
2-3 red chillies
2-3 kokum (or 1/4 tsp tamarind paste)
jaggery to taste
1 tsp coconut oil
Wash dal and cook in 2 cups of water with a pinch of turmeric till soft. Grind coconut and red chillies (tamarind if using) to a fine paste. Keep aside.
Combine pumpkin with enough water to cook in a sauce pan. When cooked (don't let them get mushy), add dal and coconut masala. Lightly crush teppal and add to dal along with jaggery, kokum and salt. Bring to a boil. Spoon a teaspoon of coconut oil over dal and cover to let flavors blend. Serve hot with rice.
* So which ingredient would you nominate as 'gold'? Off the top of my head I can think of Kashmiri saffron because Anita raves about it so passionately, and marathi moggu, which adds that something special to Bisibele Bhaat...
* Use bamboo shoots, drumsticks, raw jackfruit, gourds etc. in place of pumpkin. To make dudhya khatkhate, omit red gram and use a seasoning of crushed garlic in coconut oil.