I was introduced to Kerala cuisine during my undergrad days at Stella Maris College. I had roommates that hailed from the Mallu land and every time they came back from vacation, they would bring lots of delicious goodies including chakka (jack fruit) chips, fish pickle, nendram (plantain) chips and the list goes on! Sigh, how I miss those days. Onam was a very special occasion and we celebrated it by making pookolam (flower rangoli) and there were special dance performances including kaikotti kali, a unique dance performed only by women. It is one of those festivals that is so beautiful with everyone wearing a gorgeous white sari typically with golden borders and the aroma of jasmine flowers made it so memorable. Of course Onam sadhya (Onam lunch) was the highlight. This included a range of dishes served on banana leaf. One of my favorites in Erisseri. Since its Onam today I decided to make this special dish and re-live my SMC days. After all, these experiences and the people helped me refine my palette for delicious mallu cuisine.
There are so many different versions of this dish and I went through a number of recipes online to create this version 🙂
1. Pumpkin (yellow) – 2 cups (peeled and chopped into 1 inch cube)
(This dish can be made with Yam, Unripe banana and pigeon peas)
2. Red beans – 1 cup
(I used canned small red beans (Goya). When using canned beans wash them nicely under running tap water before using the beans. I recommend getting fresh red beans and soaking it overnight. It tastes so much better than canned ones)
3. Turmeric – ¼ tsp
4. Salt to taste
1. Coconut (shredded)– 3 tbsp
2. Cumin seeds – 1tbsp
3. Green chilli – 4-5
1. Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
2. Coconut – 2 tbsp
3. Shallots – ½ cup
4. Red chilli – 2-3
5. Curry leaves – a few (I typically add around 7-8 leaves)
6. Coconut oil – 2 tbsp
1. Pressure cook pumpkin (peeled and chopped) and red beans along with salt and turmeric. Once pumpkin gets cooked mash it well with a fork.
2. In the meantime, grind coconut, cumin and green chilli into a smooth paste.
3. In a sauté pan, add 2 tbsp of coconut oil and to the hot oil add mustard seeds. When the seeds start splattering add red chilli, coconut and shallots and sauté till the contents turn golden brown.
4. Now add the coconut paste from step 2 and cook for about 2-3 minutes.
5. Add the pressure cooked veggies and beans and mix well. Cook for about 5-7 minutes until the spices get incorporated into the vegetables.
Additionally, you can add some roasted shredded coconut to the top right before serving.