Pulikuthi Upperi (Vegetables In A Tamarind Sauce)

Palakkad district of the Southern state of Kerala has a distinctive cuisine. These recipes are easy to prepare and are very tasty. Many of my friends from across India request me to prepare either TamBram (Tamizhnadu) or Palakkad food for them, whenever they visit me for a meal. I am always delighted to oblige as I grew up with these two types of food. For me, these are normal ‘home’ food. Therefore, the high praise that I receive from my friends always leaves me amazed.
This dish was often prepared in my home when I was a kid. Though I do not prepare if often nowadays. I often wonder why I don’t do so whenever I taste it. And promise myself that it should feature more in my menus. The subtle flavour and sourness of the tamarind lends this dish a unique taste. A remarkable dish.

Pulikuthi Upperi

1 raw banana, cut into small cubes
1 cup yellow pumpkin, cut into small cubes (kadhu, parangikkai)
6 pieces okra, cut into 1″ pieces (bhendi, vendakkai)
A lemon sized ball of tamarind, soaked in warm water
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
1 tsp date pastes
Salt to taste
To Be Ground
2 tbsp raw brown rice
1 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi dhana, venthiyam)
4 dry red chilis
To Temper
1 tsp mustard seeds (sarson, kadugu)
1 sprig curry leaves
A pinch of asafoetida (hing, perunkayam)
Extract a thick tamarind paste
Set aside
Roast the rice, fenugreek seeds and red chilis till it turns aromatic
Transfer to a blender and grind to a fine powder
Set aside
Since the vegetables have different cooking times, cook them separately
Heat a wok and add the raw banana and a little salt
Cook till the banana is tender
Set aside
In the same wok, add the pumpkin
Sprinkle salt, add tamarind juice, turmeric powder and date paste
Cook till the pumpkin is tender
Set aside
Next, heat a clean wok
Add the mustard seeds
When they begin to splutter, add asafoetida and curry leaves
Sauté for a few seconds
Add the okra and sprinkle salt
Cook till the okra is tender
Add the cooked pumpkin and raw banana
Add the ground spice powder
Stir till all the ingredients are well combined
Adjust salt
Once done, switch off the flame
Serve hot with steamed red/brown rice

2 Comments Add yours

  1. CarolCooks2 says:

    I absolutely love Tamarind and cook with it quite often …I will definitely try this when I have some green bananas it will make a change from koftas 🙂


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