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
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.