Vellarikka Pulisherry/Moru(Cucumber Pulisherry)

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Meals in South India is a big deal 🙂 Coming from Kerala, I know that in every malayalee home, lunch is a highlight meal of the day. It comprises of minimum 3 dishes. Usually rice is served with a curry like sambar or rasam or moru, a veg stir fry item like thoran or mizhukkuparatti and some non-veg which is typically fish fry or fish curry or atleast egg burji. Usually the defaults with the meals are yogurt, pappadam and pickle 🙂 Yummm..my mouth is watering already 😛 . These days you have all these dishes together only when there is some special occassion. Atleast in our home, we don’t have the luxury to relish a complete meal on a daily basis 😦

I remember the first time I had this dish very distinctly. Making pulisherry or moru based curries was not uncommon in our home. But during one of our summer vacations, during our visit to my paternal grandparents home, I had this curry for the first time. And I liked it so much, that though at that time I didn’t know what this was made of, I remembered that it was a soft yet crunchy and a sour vegetable and I remember asking my mom to make this same moru curry once we went back home after vacation 🙂 But the tastiest version of this moru for me is still the version my cheriyamma(my grandma’s sister) used to make. She passed away a decade or more ago and I never got a chance to ask her this recipe, but I want to dedicate this imperfect version of vellarikka pulisherry to her!

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INGREDIENTS:

Cucumber(English cucumber) – 1 cup, cubed
Grated coconut – 1 cup
Cumin seeds – 3/4 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Green chilli – 2 nos
Shallots – 2 or 3 nos(optional)
Yogurt – 1/3 cup
Curry leaves – 1 strand
Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
Dry red chilli – 2 nos
Coconut oil – 1 tbsp
(Can be replaced by any oil)
Salt – to taste(apprx 1/2 tsp)

METHOD:

1. In a saucepan, put 1.5 cups water, turmeric powder, salt and cubed cucumber. Let this boil in medium flame.
2. Grind the grated coconut, shallots, green chillis and cumin seeds into a smooth paste in a mixie/blender. The paste shouldn’t be too watery but thick.
3. Wait till the cucumber is cooked well. You can speeden this process by covering the saucepan using a lid. Add little water if required to avoid cucumbers from burning/sticking to the pan.
4. Once the cucumber is cooked through(it becomes translucent), add the ground paste into it. Now add water to make it into a thick gravy. Let it boil for 4-5 minutes. Stir occasionally.
5. Add beaten yogurt to this and keep stirring in low-medium flame. Cook for 4-5 mins and remove from heat.
6. In another pan, heat coconut oil. To this add mustard seeds. Let it splutter and then add dry red chillies(broken into 1 inch pieces). Add curry leaves and let it splutter. Add this to the prepared pulisherry/moru.

Serve with white rice and stir fries.

TIP: 1. Some cucumbers can be bitter. So one tip that always comes handy to me whenever I buy a cucumber and realise that its bitter is this. Cut 1 inch of cucumber on one end and put some salt on the cut end. With the cut piece rub the cucumber against the salt. This will help in taking out some bitterness off the cucumber 🙂
2. Do not heat the curry in high heat once you pour curd/yogurt. This will cause the yogurt to curdle. So heat for a short time and stir continuously.

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Moru kachiyadu/ Hot and sour yogurt based gravy

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Back in my state, usually, the lunch comprises of rice, some veg stir fry, in most cases some fish fry and for sure a curry(light gravy) to mix the rice with. Again, in the northern part of my state, where I come from, mostly the curry would be either Sambar or Rasam(the recipes of which would follow in the days to come). But if you go south, mostly in all homes, you would mandatorily have Moru kachiyadu everyday. It is a yogurt based gravy with the perfect hot and sour blend. Since its yogurt based, it is good for your tummy too 🙂

It is traditionally made with buttermilk and not exactly yogurt. But here I have seen realized it turns out better with yogurt. I never used to get it right initially. Because I used to think it’s a difficult thing to make and I gave it undue worry J But now I get it perfect each time once I started believing that its not that difficult afterall 😉

INGREDIENTS:

Yogurt – 2 cups
Shallots – 6-7 nos
Garlic – 4-5 pods
Ginger – 1 inch
Green chilli – 3 nos
Curry leaves – 1 strand
Dry red chilli – 1 no
Mustards seeds – ¼ tsp
Cumin seeds – ¼ tsp
Fenugreek seeds – 6-7 nos
Asafoetida – ¼ tsp
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Salt – to taste
Oil – 1 tbsp

METHOD:

  1.  Bring the yogurt to room temperature and add 3/4th cup water to it. Whisk the yogurt well so that there are no lumps. You could use a blender to bring it to a smooth consistency.
  2.  Heat oil in a sauce pan. Once the oil is heated well, turn the burner to medium flame. Add mustard seeds to the oil. Once it splutters, add cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds.
  3. Once it turns light brown, add asafoetida, dry red chilli(each chilli broken to 3-4 pieces) and curry leaves. Be careful when you add the curry leaves. It will splutter and oil drops to fly and hurt you. So just maintain little distance 🙂
  4. Immediately add finely sliced garlic and ginger. Saute till it turns golden brown.
  5. Add sliced green chillis and sliced shallots. Saute till the shallots start go get crisp. Takes about 2-3 mins
  6. Add turmeric powder and saute for a minute.
  7. Bring the burner to low flame and pour the yogurt to the saucepan. Keep stirring it occasionally and ensure to keep it in low flame else the yogurt will break.
  8. Once the yogurt starts to boil slightly, switch off the burner. Add salt at this point. Adding salt and not stirring the yogurt can also cause breaking of yogurt.
  9. Serve hot with white rice.

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