Erissery (Pumpkin Bean Curry)
When I lived in Kerala erissery was one of my least favored curries. There was nothing wrong with the ingredients..it is made with pumpkin, beans and coconut, and spiced with green chillies, cumin, mustard, curry leaves and red chillies. But the thick soupy texture of the curry used to drive me away from lunch when it was served (if I am not wrong most Friday’s) at the college hostel cafeteria. I thought I must be a odd guy to dislike such a harmless dish, but I was at peace when my wife also hated the dish because of its texture.
Over the years dislike for this dish became so strong, that I never ate pumpkin till I came to the US. I ate pumpkin again in the form of a pie after much coercing by my wife. I still was not convinced. Then I ate a slice of pumpkin cheesecake in New York City, my knees gave in, and I was a born-again pumpkin eater.
Ever since I thought of deconstructing the erissery and making it in a way we might like it. This is my version of the curry. All the ingredients are the same as the classic erissery, except that it is drier and chunkier than the original. To see the original version please click here
1. 1 cup pumpkin cubes.
2. 1 can red beans
3. 1/4 cup grated coconut
4. 4-5 green chillies
6. 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
7. a pinch of paprika and turmeric powder
8. 1/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds
9. 4-5 curry leaves
10. 3 red chillies
11. salt to taste
Heat oven to 400 F.
Marinate the pumpkin cubes with paprika, turmeric, a pinch of the cumin powder, salt and oil and roast them in the oven for 20 minutes. To get one cup of 1 inch cubes I used half of a small pumpkin. The rest half I roasted in the oven, scooped all the pulp out and used the skin as a serving bowl.
Make a paste using the grated coconut, green chillies and cumin and set aside.
Wash off all the canning juice of the red beans. Saute the beans with crushed black pepper and then add the coconut paste and cook for 3 minutes on medium heat. Add the roasted pumpkin to the pan, mix carefully all the ingredients (try to retain the texture of the pumpkin cubes), add about two tablespoons of water, and cook for another two minutes.
In a wok heat about two teaspoons of oil, splutter the mustard seeds, curry leaves, and red chillies. Pour on the pumpkin bean mixture. Add salt to taste and mix.
Plate and serve.