Mezhukuperrati is an iconic dish for most people from Palakkad. And many people from this region of India consider a bowl of curd rice, with a mezhukuperrati as an accompaniment, as a gourmet meal. Mezhuku means fat (in this case, oil) and Perrati means stir fry. Practically any vegetable can be used to make a mezhukuperrati, including jackfruit, jackfruit seeds, Chinese potato (koorkai), beetroot, cabbage/carrot combination, raw papaya, elephant yam and snake gourd. However, the most commonly made is a combination of elephant yam and raw banana. My mother used to make this quite often. But she let a little of the vegetable stick to the bottom of the vessel she was cooking in. Once the dish was done, she scraped the bottom of the vessel and used the scraping to garnish the dish. All of us kids used to fight for the scrapings rather than the dish itself!
Hari too makes this quite often. However, he can never come to terms with the fact that this dish has no spices. As a compromise, he tempers the dish with mustard seeds and split black gram.
1 cup raw banana, cut into small cubes
1 cup elephant yam, cut into small cubes
A pinch of turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Steam the raw banana and elephant yam cubes for about 10 minutes (the elephant yam might take a little longer)
Heat a wok and add the steamed vegetables to it
Add turmeric and salt
Roast on low flame for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally (ensure that the vegetables are not mashed)
Remove from flame and transfer to a serving bowl
Serve hot with red or brown rice