Thiruvathira puzhukku is usually prepared during Thiruvathira celebration in Kerala. It is made using tubers, red cow peas and raw banana. The common tubers that are used for this dish, in Central Travancore region are kachil, vettu chembu, chinese potato(koorkka) and elephant yam (chena). You may replace them with kappa (tapioca), regular taro root, sweet potatoes, potato etc. It tastes great by itself or you can serve it with kanji, pappadam and chammanthi. Since most of these tubers are not available here in US, I asked my mom to prepare it for me, during my Kerala visit. I have already posted few of the nadan dishes that I photographed in Kerala, will post the remaining soon.. Hope you enjoy this recipe!
Ingredients (Serves 10 – 12
Kachil – 1/2 kg, cubed
Vettu chembu / sheema chembu – 1/4 kg, cubed
Chena / elephant yam – 1/4 kg, cubed
Koorkka / chinese potato – 1/4 kg, cubed
Pacha ethakka / raw banana / nenthrakaya – 1/4 kg, cubed
Van payar / red chori / red cow peas – 1/4 kg
Green chilies – 2, slit
Turmeric powder – 3/4 tsp
Chilly powder – 1.5 tsp
Curry leaves – 6 – 7 sprigs
Salt – To taste
Coconut oil – 3 tbsp
Grated coconut – 1.5 coconut or around 4 cups
Garlic – 5 – 6, small cloves (You need not add garlic / pearl onions if you are making it on the day of thiruvathira)
Cumin seeds – 3/4 tsp
1. Cook the van payar in a pressure cooker for about 3-4 whistles or until it becomes tender. Set aside.
2. Grind the grated coconut, garlic and cumin seeds to a coarse mixture.
3. Cut the vettuchembu, kachil, chena, koorkka and ethakka to large cubes and place in a large pressure cooker. Add enough water (water should be in the same level as that of the veggies), salt, green chilies, turmeric powder, chilly powder and curry leaves. You can also cook them in a large vessel but it will take a lot of time. Pressure cook for 3 whistles at medium-high heat. Switch off the stove. Open the pressure cooker when pressure releases. Mash the veggies using the back of a large spoon (thavi). Add the cooked van payar. For ease of mixing, you can transfer the cooked veggies to a larger pan if you want. Put the pan/pressure cooker with the cooked veggies back on the stove, at medium heat. Add the ground coconut mixture and mix everything well. Mash the veggies while you mix everything. Taste check for salt. Finally add a few curry leaves and 3 tbsp coconut oil. Mix well. Keep covered it for at least 15 minutes before serving. This dish tends to thicken over time. Serve hot.