A Traditional Recipe made with Pumpkin and Red Cowpeas, Mildly Spiced n Flavored with the Aromatics from an Assorted Tempering of Fresh and Roasted Coconut, a popular side dish from the Heart of Kerala…!!
I love pumpkin and the dishes made with it, to which I was brought up in my hometown. But all of them had been savoury! It was after moving to the US that I realized how popular pumpkin is here, in fact way popular than in India. It is a key element to the Halloween celebrations and has a variety of dishes that too for the sweet tooth. I keep getting surprised even nowadays seeing the different sweet pumpkin dishes & desserts … pumpkin pies, tarts, smoothies, pancakes, soups, cakes… is there anything more you can ask for?
So coming back to the savoury side of pumpkin, Erissery is one of the most popular side dishes of Kerala, India; served mainly for our biggest & our traditional feast; Sadya. The preparation and the ingredients used vary in different parts of the state, with pumpkin sometimes being replaced with yam, banana, or butternut squash.
Pumpkin when combined with legumes makes a very healthy diet. Red cowpeas also known as Lobhia or Vanpayar, are an excellent source of protein and this legume has different variations, like the black, brown, and white creamy peas.
Tadka, or tempering of spices in oil, is one of the key steps in this recipe’s preparation, where both fresh and roasted coconut is used; fresh for the base in a grinded paste form, and the roasted as a garnish along with spices. The beautiful aroma from the roasting of coconut itself makes your mouth watering, pair this dish with steamed rice and enjoy…!
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Prep time: 40-45 mins
Serves: 4 – 5 servings
- 1 cup pumpkin (sliced)
- ¾ cup red cowpeas / vanpayar
- ½ + ½ cup coconut (grated)
- 2 garlic cloves
- ¼ teaspoon cumin / jeera
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 green chilies
- 2 sprigs curry leaves
- 2 dry red chilies
- 2 pearl onions (chopped)
- mustard seeds (a pinch)
- salt (as required)
- oil (as required)
- 2 cups water (for pressure cooking)
- Soak red cowpeas overnight OR Pressure cook red cowpeas with a little salt and 2 cups of water, on a medium flame for up to 3 whistles. Take the cooker off the flame, and allow it to rest till the pressure goes off.
- Drain the cowpeas.
- Clean the pumpkin by peeling off its skin and removing its seeds. Slice it into small pieces.
- Add a little water to a pan and cook the pumpkin slices with salt and a pinch of turmeric powder, until it turns mushy. Mash well with a wooden spoon.
- In the meantime, make a paste of coconut, cumin, green chilies, garlic and turmeric powder.
- Turn down the heat of the pan to low and add the cooked cowpeas and coconut paste, mix well.
- Adjust the salt and boil the curry until it thickens. Turn off the flame.
- In another pan, heat some oil and splutter mustard seeds. Add curry leaves, dry red chilies and pearl onions. Saute for a minute on a low flame, and add the other half of the grated coconut.
- Roast the coconut by stirring frequently till it brownish and aromatic.
- Garnish the pumpkin curry with the roasted coconut paste.
Serve warm with steamed rice.
Interested in more Pumpkin recipes, check this out:
Interested in more side dish recipes with Red cowpeas, check this out: