Recipe: Chena Pulissery (Yam cooked in coconut and curd gravy)
Where ever you go and what ever you do, there is no place better than home, I can’t be more agreeable with this than any one.
And for me, the same applies to the food I eat as well. How much ever I enjoy cuisines from different places, I tend to find food from my homeland, Kerala, always refreshing and the best (I am sure everyone feels the same way about their cuisines tooJ)
Like most Keralites, I enjoy rice. And my favourite accompaniment to rice has always been Pulissery. Pulissery is a yellow, creamy gravy made using grated coconut and lots of curd as the base ingredients. It can be made using different vegetables of choice and the most common ones are usually Yam, white pumpkin, raw bananas, ripe mangoes etc. I have decided to use yam for this recipe.
Though I have tasted pulisseries (also called moru kootan) from different places, I haven’t found anything close to what my mom makes. I can’t help saying that my mom makes the best pulisssery ever. Me and my brother can keep having it for 3 consecutive days and yet never tire of it.
I have used her recipe here and have tried hard to get as close to moms masterpiece as possible.
CHENA PULISSERY (yam cooked in coconut and curd gravy)
Yam – 1 cup cut into bite sized pieces
Grated coconut – 1- 1 ½ cups
Curd (sour) – 1 cup (depending on sourness of the curd. For less sour ones you will have to add more)
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
Peppercorns – ¼ tsp
Green chilly – 1 or 2 (as per need)
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Dry red chillies – 1-2 halved
Curry leaves – a handful
Cook the yam, pieces in a sauce pan with almost ¼ cup water and turmeric powder, until done. Set this aside.
Place grated coconut, curd, green chillies, cumin seeds and peppercorns in the bowl of a blender and blend till you get a coarse mixture.
Pour this into a strainer and squeeze the mixture well so that you can get approximately 2 cups of juice.
(If you find this step a little complicated you could skip this step. But see it to that the mixture is blended into an ultra smooth paste which can be directly used for cooking. I have tried both ways but found the former way much better)
Now take the saucepan with the cooked yam and pour the juice/mixture into it.
Place this over a medium flame and cook by stirring continuously.
Do not leave the vessel unattended because the curd may separate giving a bad texture to the curry.
Stir on till the gravy starts thickening which might take about 15-20 mins.
Once the curry reaches required consistency, remove from flame and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat some oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. Once the seeds start spluttering, add dry red chillies and curry leaves and remove from flame.
Garnish pulissery with this and serve hot with some rice.