Pumpkin erissery or mathanga erissery – Keralas hidden treasure.
KERALA, at the southern tip of India, is known by as “Heaven on Earth”. It has tropical beaches, rivers and picturesque backwater districts, while the urban areas are more compact and more inviting than in other parts of India.
The long, beautiful beaches of the Arabian Sea in the west give way to paddy fields and backwater districts in the centre. The majestic Western Ghats rise in the east of the state, where numerous waterfalls, rivers and lakes are dotted throughout. They run along the western edge of the Deccan pateau. Almost everywhere you go in Kerala, the scent of beautiful spices fills the air.
Easy and simple step by step pumpkin carving.
Sadya – Kerala feast served on a banana leaf.
Pumpkin erissery or mathanga erissery is one of the essential dishes that is served during sadya. Pumpkin erissery recipe is pretty straightforward and simple. Both the cowpeas and pumpkin are cooked and then coconut paste is added to them and simmered. Later to be tempered in coconut oil with some mustard, curry leaves and coconut. Coconut oil gives you the true authentic taste.
Sadya is the traditional vegetarian feast of Kerala. Usually served as lunch, it consists of par boiled pink rice, side dishes, savouries, pickles and desserts spread out on a plantain leaf. Tradition insists that the tapering end of the leaf points to the left of the seated guest. Rice is served on the lower half of the leaf.
The best part is you don’t eat with a knife and fork or chopsticks – you eat with fingers.
The feast begins with the serving of Parippu, a liquid curry made of small gram and ghee. The second course is Sambar, the famous South Indian vegetable stew in which any available combination of vegetables is boiled in a gravy of crushed lentils, onions, chillies, coriander and turmeric and with a pinch of asafoetida.
Avial, an unavoidable side dish is a blend of vegetables, coconut paste and green chillies. It is seasoned with a spoonful of fresh coconut oil and some raw curry leaves stirred in immediately after the dish is taken off the stove.
Some of the other important side dishes include Thoran, and Olan. Thoran can be minced string beans, cabbage mixed with grated coconut and sautèed with a dash of red chillies and turmeric powder. Olan is a bland dish of pumpkin and red grams cooked in thin gravy of coconut milk.
The savouries include Upperi, Pappadam, Ginger pickle, Pachadi and Kichadi. Upperi is deep fried banana chips. Pappadams are fried creamy yellow, sun-dried wafer of black gram flour. The Ginger pickle is a rich brown, hot and sweet ginger chutney while the Kichadi consists of sliced and sautèed cucumber or ladies finger in curd, seasoned with mustard, red chillies and curry leaves in coconut oil. Pickles are usually mango and lime.
Desserts are served mid-way through the meal. The Payasam is a thick fluid dish of sweet brown molasses, coconut milk and spices, garnished with cashew nuts and raisins. There could be a succession of Payasams, such as the Palada Pradhaman and Parippu Pradhaman.
Pazham, a ripe golden yellow plantain, is usually had along with the payasams. After the payasams, rice is served once more with the spicy Rasam. Rasam is a mixture of chilly and peppercorn powders boiled in diluted tamarind juice. Kaalan, seasoned buttermilk with turmeric powder and green chillies, and plain sour buttermilk that comes salted and with chopped green chillies and ginger, are also served before the feast is finally wound up. In future blogs I will post on all items in detail.
Pumpkin erissery or mathanga erissery
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Cow peas – half a cup, soaked in water over night
Pumpkin – 2 cups, peeled and chopped into small pieces
Turmeric powder – half teaspoon
Grated coconut – 3/4 of a cup
Cumin seed – half tsp
Green chilies – 3 nos
Mustard seeds – quarter tsp
Dried red chilies – 2 nos
Grated coconut – quarter a cup
Shallots – 2 nos
- Soak the cow peas overnight
- Cook the cow peas with less water until done. It should be half cooked only. Do not make it mushy.
- Now add the chopped pumpkin pieces to the half cooked red beans along with turmeric powder and salt. Let it cook with the pumpkin.
- Mash the pumpkin well with a spatula leaving few of the chunky pieces.
- Grind together coconut, green chilies, cumin seeds to a fine paste.
- Add this coconut mixture to the curry and cook for 5 minutes on a medium flame.
- Now heat a pan with some oil and splutter mustard seeds, saute sliced shallots, dried red chillies and curry leaves.
- Reduce heat and add grated coconut.
- Roast the coconut until golden brown (do not burn the coconut.) and add to the curry
- Add this seasoning to the erissery. Mix well. Erissery is ready to serve!!
NB : Pumpkin erissery tastes best with steamed rice or par poiled pink rice. You can also serve it along with sambar and rice.