From the Monastery Kitchen

A special request has come for a few recipes to be added to TAKA, so ammas everywhere can experiment with new veggie dishes mastered by the monks. Today we present poriyal.

Pumpkin Poriyal

Poriyal is a Tamil word indicating a finely chopped vegetable dish which is served dry with a small number of ingredients. All poriyals consist of finely chopped vegetables with fried lentils. Beyond this basic starting point, there are many variations of the several vegetables which can be used to make poriyal. Typically, poriyals will be dressed with shredded coconut and fresh coriander (cilantro/dhaniya). In this recipe, we have used pumpkin. It should be mentioned that the common most poriyals are of fresh beans or potatoes. Aside from these two, in general it’s easier to use veggies which are dry to begin with such as sweet potatoes, yams, kumara, arbi (taro), etc. Wet vegetables are generally not used but can be if all the water is cooked out. This is what we have done here with pumpkin -- a watery vegetable. This photo was a poriyal from our garden pumpkins. Below is how to make it.

The toor dal and green bean poriyal shown here gives a hint at the variety of color and texture you can achieve.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

500g (1 lb) pumpkin, peeled and finely chopped
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 green chilies, minced
2 tbs fresh grated coconut
2 tsp ghee (or oil of choice)
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp urad dal (split black gram)
1 tsp chana dal (split Bengal gram)
1 red chili, slit lengthwise
1/2 tsp asafoetida (hing) powder
1 small handful curry leaves

Cut off both ends of pumpkin. Cut in half widthwise and remove all the seeds and fibers with a large spoon and discard*. Chop finely the pumpkin, transfer to a colander and wash well. Steam pumpkin for about 10 minutes. When cooked, drain pumpkin in a colander and allow it to drain all the water fully and cool down.
As the pumpkin cools, heat the ghee in a heavy sauce pan. As the ghee heats up, add mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal, split red chili, asafoetida powder, and curry leaves.
When the mustard begins to splutter, the curry leaves crackle, and the dals brown, and the green chili and cooked pumpkin, and coconut. Stir throughly yet delicately. Cooked without stirring for about 1 minute and transfer into your serving ware. Eat it hot with rice or chapati and enjoy!

*If desired, the seeds can be saved, picked over, washed, dried, spiced to your liking, and baked for a tasty treat.

8 Responses to “From the Monastery Kitchen”

  1. Sahana says:

    What a great idea to have recipes added to TAKA. I love it and will happily use it.

  2. Sarasvathi Iswarapatham says:

    Great idea!Thank you.
    If I may be allowed:
    Why is the liquid drained after steaming? Is there a reason.If its not wanted mushy,the cooking can start with the ghee spices etc. The the green chillies,tumeric powder,salt & grated coconut are mixed together and added to the spices ater they are roasted/browned. Just stir a little & remove. Quickly put in the pumpkin & on low heat cook & allow excess it to evaporateto one’s liking.Pumpkins cook real fast & since they are chopped fine it can become mushy. Lastly, add the previously fried mustard seeds, curryleaves,c.nut mix etc & stir/mix all well.

  3. Amma Debora says:

    I´m delighted to have new recipes to try – and to improve my veggie cooking qualities, which are very poor! Thank you soooo much! This takes me to the next step: I´m afraid I´ll always ask the silliest questions… sorry! Question nr 1: urad dal and chana dal are sold here only dry – not cooked or steamed. I´m assuming I´d have to steam/cook and drain them out before using on this recipe, ins´t it? As soon as I try to cook it I´ll let you know of my (I HOPE!) success!

  4. Sarasvathi Iswarapatham says:

    Dear,Amma Debora,They are sold dry.Soak the dhalls separately not more than 4 hrs. Grind/blend to a paste like to make patties.Cut/chop onions of your choice,a green chillie or 2,can add a teeny weeny bit of ginger ( more if you like),a few curry leaves,sliced or pinched.You can add a pinch of jeera( cummin seeds)pounded.Put salt to this mixture,give a little squeeze to that & put on the dhall paste( needn’t be too smooth, & SHOULD NOT BE WATERY as it will soak in a lot of oil when fried).Mix well with your hand & deep fry on med heat.You could make like doughnuts or patties.You’ll get used slowly.

  5. Sadhaka Nandinatha says:

    Om Namasivaya,

    Mrs. Iswarapatham — The pumpkin should be dry since this is a poriyal. Poriyals are dry dishes comprised on finely chopped veggies. If the dish is watery and mushy, it would simply be a curry. This method is of course also acceptable, but we couldn’t call it a poriyal.

    Amma Débora — For this dish, the dal grams are fried in the oil at the very initial stage of cooking. Yes, they are hard, dry and uncooked when you begin. However, as you “temper” them, as it’s called, in the hot oil, they fry, turn brown and become cooked. They are crunchy still but completely edible. Mrs. Iswarapatham’s description of dal usage is applying to other cooking scenarios.

  6. Amma Debora says:

    Thank you both, Sarasvathi Iswarapatham and sweet Sadaka Nandinatha. It´s all clear to me, now. I´l try it!

  7. Sarasvathi Iswarapatham says:

    I am sorry Sadhaka Nandhinatha for asking silly questions.And thank you very much for taking time to give recipes & also answer people like me. My humble apologies again,Sadhaka.

  8. Ushadevi says:

    Mahalo! Thank you so much. It is very helpful to have these full descriptions and the photographs of the final result. Having grown up in a western home and also lacking the extended family atmosphere- with lots of variety and tips in a kitchen full of Amma’s and Aunite’s- this new feature on TAKA will make lives better all over the world!

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