Mathan Puli Pachadi (Pumpkin Tamarind Curry)

This is a typical and very traditional Palakkad dish. It is normally made with one of two vegetables – pumpkin or okra. A very unique and tasty dish that pairs very well with mulakootal. Hari once made this dish at a vegan cooking class. It was a super-hit. The attendees all claimed that they had never prepared okra is this way at all and couldn’t even imagine that it could be done. Moreover, they all enjoyed the dish so much that it was all polished off – with nothing left for Hari and me! I will demonstrate this dish with pumpkin here – you can substitute pumpkin with okra.

250 gms pumpkin
A gooseberry sized ball of tamarind
A pinch of turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
1 tsp date paste
Salt to taste
To Grind
1/2 cup grated coconut
1 or 2 green chillies
1/8th tsp mustard seeds (sarson, kadugu)
For The Seasoning
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi dhana, venthiyam)
1 dried red chilli (broken into two)
1 sprig curry leaves
Extract tamarind pulp and add about a cup of water
Slice pumpkin into 1/2″ thick, square slices
Add pumpkin, salt, turmeric powder and tamarind water in a vessel (the pumpkin must be immersed in the tamarind water, else add a little more water)
Boil till pumpkin is cooked
Meanwhile, grind coconut, green chillies and mustard seeds to a smooth paste, adding a little water
Add this paste to the pumpkin (after it has been cooked)
Add date paste
Adjust salt
Simmer for about 5 minutes
Remove from flame and set aside
Heat a wok and add mustard seeds
When they begin to splutter, add fenugreek seeds and red chilli
Roast for a few seconds
Pour over the cooked pumpkin
Garnish with curry leaves
Serve hot with rice and mulakootal or even with Indian breads

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