June 30, 2008

Mathan Thoran/Pumpkin Stir fry...

When this blog was started, I was freshly back from my hometown , brimming with experiences and memories of food whose taste still lingered tantalizingly out of reach. I wanted to write down everything...every memory, every recipe before I forgot it and so the posts flowed smoothly.

Now with so many posts and so many recipes covered, my mind feels like a sponge squeezed dry of thoughts and ideas. It feels strangely quiet and all the sounds of the last visit has faded away to an emptiness. The mind now needs to recharge, to revisit the hometown, to reabsorb the smells, tastes, and sounds of the land there. It needs to swell with the experiences of meeting family and friends and it needs to fill with conversations had with everyone...all the fuel for the blog.

So friends, I am going off on a vacation to the motherlode, and would be back with you in a month. So till then, have a nice summer or winter, wherever you are and see you soon.

I am leaving you with the simplest stir fry/thoran that gets repeat performance in my house quite frequently. I started making it as an adaptation of the popular Erissery, which is pumpkin and red beans cooked together with a coconut gravy. Somehow the erissery curry ends up on the sweet end of the spice scale and my family kept asking me to separate the pumpkin from the beans to reduce the sweetness. So the pumpkin got made on its own spiced up with dried red chilies and coconut just as a garnish instead of a gravy. Surprisingly now this gets top billing while erissery is hardly made. Well, this is definitely easier and faster which is my main criteria for a recipe nowadays.

DO toast the coconut as the taste is different than just adding the fresh coconut. My mother toasts a tablespoon of fresh coconut and adds it to the erissery in the end which gives it a crunch, so I did the same here. Apparently the "eri" word in the "erissery" comes from the final roasting of the grated coconut while preparing the seasoning for the curry( Erikkuka... ) according to a note by Archana. Do correct me if I am wrong.

You Will Need:
Pumpkin- about 4 cups or 1 pound
Dried Red Chilies-2
Red Chili Powder- 1/4 tsp
Turmeric- 1/4 tsp
salt to taste
Oil-1 tablespoon
Mustard seeds- 1/4 tsp
Curry Leaves-a handful
Grated Coconut- 1 tablespoon


Remove skin and chop the pumpkin into very very tiny even sized cubes. Try not to get your hands cut as I do. Wash and drain. Heat the oil in a pan and when it gets hot, lower the heat, add the mustard seeds and cover till it stops spluttering. Then open and add curry leaves and dried red chilies. Saute and add the pumpkin, red chili powder, salt and turmeric.

Add 1 tablespoon of water and cover and cook for 3-5 minutes on medium heat. Open and see if it needs further cooking. Depending on the variety of pumpkin, it may have a cooking time of 3-8 minutes. Sometimes when I make it without adding that tablespoon of water, it turns into mush..kind of like mashed pumpkin.

The pumpkin with the green skin is firmer and holds its shape better so look for that if you can.

The pumpkin is cooked and ready when it is still stands separate but is tender enough cut with a fork. Cover and remove from the flame.

Toast the coconut on a skillet without any oil for about 5 minutes. No need to add oil unless you are in a hurry. When the coconut turn light brown and smells absolutely coconutty, remove and pour over the pumpkin. Serve with rice.


Asha said...

I agree with the brain drain, I feel the same way these days.
Have a wonderful time there Shaheen. I am off too in 2 weeks until September, need a break! I might be cooking a storm with your dishes while you are away!:D
Thoran looks mouthwatering, always loved simple dishes, very tasty.
See you when you come, be safe and be happy. Hugs to you my friend!:))

Kalai said...

Ahhh, so you're off to home? Hope you have a wonderful time, Shaheen. This thoran looks very delicious. I make it similarly, but will have to try with chilli powder and coconut next time. Look forward to more recipes once you're rested and re-charged, my friend! :)

Shivapriya said...

My memories are still fresh with all those delicious flavors and still feel the dishes my folks made for me. its been alreay 2 month but always ready for another one:). we also make pumpkin stir fry but slighty different. never tried using coconut. I bet it was delicious

Happy Journey and have a wonderful time.

Muneer said...

Wish you a happy vacation

sra said...

Have a great time, Mallugirl!

indosungod said...

Have a fun vacation Shaheen! Will miss you.

My experience with pumpkin has never been good so I have settled on butternut squash which tastes very similar to me. This is also happens to be a festive dish at my grandma's house, reminds me of the happy times whenever cooked.

TBC said...

You know, I too feel the same way about erissery. I guess that's why it only gets made when it has to- during Onam and Vishu.:D
I don't know why I've never made a pumpkin thoran before.

Shaheen, have a wonderful vacation in the company of family and friends. See you back in a bit with your batteries recharged.:D

Reshma said...

Have a great vacation :-)

Jyothsna said...

Everyone's on vacation these days! You have a lovely time back home and enjoy the REAL taste of coconut! :)

Mallugirl said...

Thanks for all the wishes, Will see u all after my vacation now.

delhibelle said...

Just saw that 'Jaane bhi do yaaron' is one of your fav movies, just wanted to tell u, I love that one too. A total laugh riot:)

Have a great holiday !

lan said...

mallugirl, have a fun vacation and come back with lots of recipes wrapped up in memories.

Passionate baker...& beyond said...

Have a wonderful time back home...this dish looks delicious & I live the addition of roasted coconut in the end. Great picture too!! Cheers Deeba

Seena said...

Have a wonderful vacation Shaheen!
Couldn't visit you for long, so was not aware of your previous post.
Enjoy all wonderful food from homeland.. :)

Ramki said...

I use ready made dry coconut powder which browns fast and is crunchier.

Anonymous said...

Mathan thoran created a happy atmosphere for me, thanks to you. It was a great success for me(mathan & me never come along, untill your recipe).
Thanks for the recipe.
Hope you are having a great time at home, quitr hot for the rainy season right?
And i have added you to my blogroll , hope its ok.
thanks n regards.

Anonymous said...

You have a good vacation! And we are expecting a deluge on your return!
I have been lucky enough to find an inexpensive Kerala place in Delhi that serves the awesomest appams!

Shreya said...

Hi lovely thoran:-) I like adding mampayar to ir, or the small rajma to this recipe:-)

Poonam said...

Have a wondeful time! the colors here look great, so must be the dish!

Anonymous said...

I cook pumpkin stir fry like you. Except I add little sugar at the end of the cooking. It gives sweet and hot taste to the dish.


Kitchen Flavours said...

Wow looks gr8. Nice blog. Gr8 pics.

Rajesh Naroth said...

Dear Shaheen, My third video is out. Its Onam related. Sudesh did the cinematography. Please watch it when you get a chance. If appropriate, it would be great if you could blog it.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvWWX_0I3zQ. Thanks a bunch