Pumpkin Cowpea curry
Mathanga is pumpkin in Malayalam and venpayar/vanpayar is cowpea. So, mathanga venpayar erissery is a thick semi-dry curry made of pumpkin and red cowpea that can be served as a side dish with rice. It is one of the important dishes of the Malayali feast or the sadhya.
As in most Kerala dishes, this one has a liberal amount of coconut most of which is ground with cumin and chillies. A bit of the coconut is also used in tempering, which gives the curry a very tempting flavor.
While tempering, first splutter the mustard seeds, then add the urad dal and coconut. Fry in low flame till the coconut gets a nice brown shade. Turn off the flame and then add the curry leaves. Tempering a bit of coconut is a must for this curry, as that is what differentiates erissery from other curries.
You can also omit the lentil and make it with the pumpkin alone. In fact, pumpkin is the most popular and the most commonly used vegetable for this dish. Though it can be replaced by quite a few vegetables like snake gourd, yam, raw plantain, raw papaya, and even drumstick.
The most common lentil used is the red cowpeas, though regular lentils (tur dal) can also be used. Yam and raw plantains make one of the best combo, and these two are used in quite a few curries together.
In our house, we frequently make the drumstick erissery which is not thick but in a liquidy pourable consistency. This is generally used as a kuzhambu or broth to mix up the rice. Drumstick tastes so divine when made into erissery. My recipe coming up soon.
Mathanga venpayar erissery is one traditional Kerala dish that will make you fall in love with it. The mild sweetness from the pumpkin combined with the earthly flavor of the cowpeas as well as that of the coconut and spices is sure tempting.
Try it once and you will get hooked onto it for life. Over to the recipe….
Mathanga venpayar erissery
- 1 cup heaped pumpkin pieces( 200 g)
- 1 cup water
- a pinch turmeric powder
- salt as needed
- ½ cup loosely packed fresh grated coconut(50 g)
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 1 green chilly
For cooking cowpeas/chowley
- ¼ cup red chowley/red cowpeas
- ½ cup water
- a pinch hing /asafoetida
- salt as needed
- few drops of oil
- 2 tsp oil
- ⅛ tsp mustard seeds
- ¼ tsp split urad
- 1 tbsp grated coconut
- few curry leaves
- 1-2 red chillies(optional)
- Clean and pressure cook the cowpeas/chowley in ½ cup of water and the other ingredients given under "For cooking cowpeas".
- Grind the coconut with the chilly and the cumin seeds as given under "For grinding" and keep ready.
- Remove the skin and pulpy seed part of the pumpkin. Chop and cook it in a pan with a cup of water, turmeric powder, and salt as needed
- Once it gets cooked and becomes soft add the cooked chowley and mix well.
- Next, add the ground coconut paste and cook in medium flame till most of the water evaporates and the raw smell disappears.
- Adjust salt and switch off the flame. Temper with the ingredients under "for tempering" and pour this over the curry. Serve as a side dish with rice.
- I have added only 1 chilly while grinding and that was perfect for us. You can add more or add dry red chilly finally while tempering as required.
- Take care when adding salt as the lentil is already cooked with salt.
- The pumpkin has to be mildly sweet. If it seems bland, add a bit of sugar. I had to add 1/4 tsp of sugar.
- Coconut oil is preferable for tempering, as it brings out the best flavor. Of course, you can use any oil of your choice if you do not like coconut oil.
Check out my other sadhya recipes.