Sunday, October 12, 2008
Erisseri is a vegetable preparation from Kerala, without which a “sadya” (traditional feast) is incomplete. Erisseri, also an intrinsic part of Palakkad Iyer cuisine, features often as a part of the daily meal and is served as a side dish along with rice. The addition of toasted coconut, as the final step of cooking, gives the Erisseri its unique flavour and taste.
Erisseri can be made with various vegetables, depending on what is available seasonally, such as idichakkai (bread fruit), chakkai (raw jackfruit), chenai (elephant yam), mathan (pumpkin), vazhakkai (raw plantains), to mention some.
Here I have used the variety of pumpkin called pachcha mathan (green pumpkin). In Kerala, and some other states of India, we get two varities of pumpkin. One, which we call “Mathan”, is the typically yellow/ orange one which is a deeper orange on the inside.
The other, which we call “Pachcha Mathan” is a mottled green and light yellow/ creamish in colour on the outside and pale orange/ yellow on the inside. This variety of pumpkin is tastier when cooked and I happened to come across it in the market here.
1/4 kg pachcha mathan (pumpkin which is a mottled green and yellow on the outside)
1/2 cup fresh grated coconut (for grinding)
1/4 cup fresh grated coconut (for toasting/ roasting)
1 - 2 dry red chillies
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
1 sprig curry leaves
1 1/2 tsp coconut oil
1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 1/2 tsp black gram lentils (urad dal)
First prepare the spice-coconut paste. Grind together ½ cup coconut, cumin seeds and red chillies, adding just enough water, to a fine paste. Keep aside.
Peel and cut the pumpkin into roughly ¾” by ¾” cubes. Put these in a pan, adding a cup of water, turmeric powder and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer till the pumpkin is cooked and very little water remains.
Now add the spice-coconut paste, mix and simmer for a couple of minutes. Take off the heat.
Heat the oil, add the mustard seeds and when they splutter add the lentil and brown. Then turn off the heat and add the curry leaves. Stir and pour over the cooked pumpkin.
In another pan, toast (without oil) the ¼ cup grated coconut, stirring constantly, till it turns brown. Take care to see it does not burn. Add this to the Erisseri.
Stir lightly just before serving. Serve warm. This recipe serves 3 to 4 and is served as an accompaniment to rice and sambhar or rasam.
This Erisseri goes to AFAM (a Fruit A Month) being hosted this month at Madhuram’s Eggless Cooking.