I often find that even the simplest recipes taste wonderful. As with this mezhuku peratti. Mezhuku means grease. Peratti means stir fry. As the name suggests, this is a very simple recipe using vegetables (any one of raw banana, yam, eggplant or jackfruit seeds) and oil. The only spice added is turmeric powder. And a little salt to taste.
This is a typical Palakkad recipe – Palakkad lies in the South Indian state of Kerala. My cook is from West Bengal. While he prepares all kinds of South Indian foods, it is not acceptable to him that a dish has nothing but salt and turmeric powder. When I insist that I want it with nothing else, he quietly sneaks in a mustard and red chilli tempering. So, I am presenting this recipe as he prepares it, with the extra ingredients mentioned as optional.
I used a combination of eggplant and long beans – because I had only a small quantity of the beans. It is not unknown that a couple of vegetables are added to this dish. Raw banana and yam is an often made combination.
250 gms long beans (lobia, payaru)
250 gms eggplant (baingan, katharikkai)
1 tsp turmeric powder
Unrefined salt to taste
1 tsp mustard seeds (optional)
1 dried red chilli broken into two (optional)
Wash the vegetables
Discard the top and tail of the long beans
Chop the remaining part into 1″ long pieces
Cube the eggplants
Add both the vegetables to a vessel
Add turmeric powder and salt
Add enough water to immerse the vegetables
Cook on a low flame till the vegetables are tender and all the water has evaporated
The remaining 3 steps are optional
Heat a wok and add mustard seeds
When they begin to splutter, add the red chilli
Roast for about 10 seconds and add this tempering to the cooked vegetables
Serve hot with steamed rice