When I started to write the recipe for this particular dish , I was in a dilemma. Yet this is such a ridiculously easy dish and here I was trying to figure out how to go about writing the recipe.
The reason being the dish is not only unique to Kerala who call this Mor kootan and is a part of the Sadya., but also the southern states of India prepare this ,each with their own slight variation.
It is called Mor Kuzhambu which is a sour yogurt based spicy thin gravy seasoned with green chillies,coconut and cumin dominating the flavours.
It is not so much about the veggies that go into this dish but the way this dish is prepared. O.K after all the ho ha let me get down straight to the recipe and I am writing it the way my mom and grandma prepared as Palakkad Iyers who stuck to this version.
- 1 cup of cubed ash gourd/white pumpkin
- 2 cups of thick buttermilk/slightly sour yogurt will also do.
- 1/2 cup of freshly grated coconut.
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds.
- 2 green chillies.
- 1 tsp turmeric powder.
- salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds/methi seeds
- sprigs of curry leaves
- 2 tbsp coconut oi
- 1 tbsp rice flour (optional), 2 small red dry chillies for tempering
Peel and dice the pumpkin into cubes or small pieces.
Cook the pumpkin in 3/4 cup of water with turmeric powder,salt . Cook on low flame and in little water as pumpkins cook fast.
Grated fresh coconut, cumin seeds,green chillies and add the rice flour if you want. It helps to slightly thicken the Mor Kootan if you are using thin buttermilk. You can even add the rice flour according to need towards the end instead of grinding along with coconut.
Whisk the yogurt/buttermilk and mix it to the ground coconut paste. Keep aside.
When the pumpkin is cooked well add the coconut,yogurt paste to the pumpkin and keep on low flame.Dont allow the mor kootan to bubble. Bring the curry to just boil and turn off the stove immediately.
Heat the coconut oil in a pan over medium flame and add the mustard seeds,methi seeds, dry red chillies,and curry leaves.Pour to the curry and cover so that the aroma stays.
Tasty Mor kootan/kuzhambu is ready to be served with rice. Enjoy!
The usual accompaniment for this kootan is cluster beans/flat beans paruppu usili ( Kothavaranga usili)
The recipe for Paruppu usili with kothavarangai will be posted here soon.
Cook the pumpkin pieces in little water,turmeric and salt.
There are so many short cuts or tips that can be followed.
1. If you have run out of coconut, or it is not available where you live, use coconut milk available in tetra paks. While grocery shopping in some countries you do not find fresh coconuts available but coconut milk from Sri Lanka and Asian countries is readily available , buy that and keep in stock as it comes handy to cook almost all kinds of Kerala based dishes and dishes that call for coconut. Even coconut powder is available in almost all countries, buy that and stock up your pantry.
2. Many a time I feel the urge to have mor kootan but may not have the coconut handy or I dont have tiime for the grating,grinding then I follow a different method.
3. I use coconut milk with the cooked pumpkins, add little rice flour to thicken, and tempering as usual. You really get a very delicious morkootan. . As we are not grinding the green chillies,cumin seeds with coconut in this method, I add the cumin powder and green chillies slit. I dont see any difference in the taste in this method too.
4. Another way of making Mor kootan/Mor kuzhambu as it is called in Tamilnadu is to add Dhania seeds/coriander seeds about 2 tbsp, 2 tbsp soaked chana dal,red chilly,cumin while grinding with coconut. For tempering they use mor milagai which is green chillies soaked in spicy buttermilk and dried in sun and used with curd rice. The dried mor milagai is fried in little oil and usually had with curd rice. It is really finger licking good.