Jan 8, 2013

Mathanga Erisherry (Pumpkin cooked in Coconut Sauce)

On to my first recipe for the New Year, its my most favorite dish. Something that I grew up eating a lot and now prepare a lot at home. A very authentic Keralite dish , Mathanga Erisherry (Pumpkin cooked in Coconut Sauce). It is usually a must have dish on a Kerala sadhya menu be it for Onam, Vishu or weddings!

I don't really recollect if it was my fav dish as a child, but I knew that I created no fuss about eating it whenever my mom made it at home. After marriage this was the first dish I ever learnt to make successfully...and the success was so great that I prepared it ever too often!
Everytime my mother-in-law calls , I would tell her we had Pumpkin currry and beetroot thoran or Pumpkin curry and fish fry or pumpkin curry and blah blah...Hehe!! Even now, whenever we call home, my father-in-law would ask, "Manju innu mathanga onnum ondakiyille?" (Din't Manju prepare Pumpkin today?)
It became so popular at home that both my sis-in-laws have become quite fond of the dish themselves and almost always makes it when we visit them :-)
Another really funny incident that happened was, earlier Manish and I used to work in the same area in downtown Minneapolis, so we would often have lunch together. There are plenty of spots on the skyway where you can take a seat and have lunch. One such day, I had packed up some Rice with Pumpkin Erissery. And among the several people who were passing by with their store bought lunches, this one particular lady goes past us twice and later comes up to us and asks, "Where did you buy that lunch from?" I told her that it was homemade and instantly she became so Red (either she was blushing or she felt weird for asking us) and told us "Oh ok, Its smelt so delicious that it was making my mouth water. So I just had to ask!" and she literally rushed away.
Can you imagine Manish and my astonishment :-D I was on Cloud 9! My simple Mathanga Erisherry caused such an impact...I will never forget that incident , well would you? :-)

I usually buy Pumpkin from the Indian stores here, where its usually cut up into triangular wedges and plastic wrapped. For today's recipe I tried Butternut Squash and it tasted just the same.

Mathanga Erissery (Kerala style Pumpkin curry) Recipe
Recipe Source : My mom
You'll need
Pumpkin / ButternutSquash (Cubed) - about 2 cups
Water - 1/2 cup
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp ( I add 1 tsp for more spice)
Salt - to taste
For coconut sauce:
Fresh grated coconut - 1 cup ( I use 1/2 cup dry coconut powder)
Shallots (small pearl onions) - 2-3
Garlic clove - 1
Cumin seeds - 2 tsp
Water - 1/2 cup
For tempering:
Oil - 2-3 tblsp
Mustard seeds - 2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Dry Red Chiilies - 2-3
Curry leaves - about 5-8 leaves
Grated Coconut - 2 tblsp (or use Roasted coconut powder)

1. Wash and take off the thick skin of the pumpkin/butternut squash and cut them into small cubes.
2. In a kadai/saucepan add the water, chopped Pumpkin, Turmeric and Red chilli powder and season with salt. Cover with a lid and let it cook until soft and tender.
3. Using a potato masher, mash the pumpkin. (leave chunks if you prefer)
4. Grind together all ingredients for the coconut sauce with 1/2 cup water.
5. Reduce the heat of the mashed pumpkin, and add the coconut sauce and stir until the curry bubbles and take off the heat. ( Add more water if the erissery is too thick)
6. In another frying pan, heat oil and crack the mustard seeds & cumin seeds, add the grated coconut and roast until brown and finally add Dry red chillies and Curry leaves.
7. Pour this over the pumpkin erissery and stir. Check for seasoning!
Its a sweet yet savory dish. Sweet from the pumpkin and savory due to the mild spices we've added in the dish. I used to initially prepare it without the Garlic, and it tasted just as good to me :-)
My MIL usually adds some cooked lentils (mostly the green or red moong) along with the pumpkin. That tastes great too. I will try to do a post on that when I make it..
My mom usually adds crushed raw mustard seeds too, but I skipped that step.
This recipe is my mom's version, from the very precious collection she hand wrote to me before my marriage, b'coz I knew nothing about cooking before then. Read about it in my 'About Cooking and Me!' page :-)

My favorite combo is to have Pumpkin Erissery with plain white rice, some spicy Indian Mango/Lemon pickle and some cool Yogurt , with papad for some crunch...Now wasn't that a mouthwatering combo!
I was quite surprised when I learnt that some of my non-Keralite friends had never cooked with Pumpkin before...so hopefully this post would be a good reason for you to try it out and I hope you'll all like it! :-)



  1. Ha ha I liked that story..poor lady ye kothipichu alle ?? I love this too..but don't make this often like u..but now I feel like having it now.

  2. Delicious mathanga curry,perfect with rice..loved reading the post completely,poor lady..kothipichu vittalle??:)
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  3. Lovely curry, Manju I too lived in Minneapolis 2 years back.

  4. Wat a traditional and fabulous dish, have to make some sooN.

  5. Delicious and comforting curry... Though i have not cooked this, i have tasted this.. My friend used to make this often..

  6. Something new to me. We make kootu using it. But never cooked it with coconut. Looks very inviting.

  7. I looked at all the ingredients and preparation and I know I would love this!! I love pumpkin and when it's savory like this, I could eat it all the time too. I have some go to dishes at home too... hey, if they taste good no one complains. :)

  8. U always bowl me over with the write ups....well done recipe and u deserve that appreciation....I'm craving to try the recipe right away....

  9. U always bowl me over with the write ups...well done recipe and u deserve that appreciation...craving to try the recipe right away...

  10. Replies
    1. I'm not sure about your question Sharanya. If you asking about the oil needed for tempering its, 2-3 tablespoons. It's mentioned in the recipe as well.

  11. delicious mathangaa curry,,,i like lt


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