Kerala Style Pumpkin Red Beans Curry/ Mathanga Payar Curry

 Any kind of gourd curry is well appreciated in my family.  So I try to make use of them by mixing with protein rich vegetables to serve up a healthy dish.  Mixing them with legumes is the traditional Keralite style of cooking Acorn squash, butternut squash, pumpkin... you name it.  These gourds are available in different shapes, sizes and are best available during fall season.  I prefer them less ripe when making traditional Keralite curries.  So I grab them whenever I eye them in the market during off seasons.  I do freeze the left over pumpkin, which comes handy when you don't want to spend time cutting and deseeding them to make a quick dish.

Little about Pumpkin
The origin of Pumpkins is unknown,  even though they are believed to be originated in North America.  This gourd is very versatile in their uses in cooking.  Their leaves, flowers and seeds are edible along with their flesh.  They are widely used from dishes ranging from simple Salads to indulging desserts.  Researches indicate that the Phytochemicals found in Pumpkins can significantly reduce the blood glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides.  Their higher fiber content helps to stimulate digestion.  Apart from their use in cooking, they are used to make jack-o-lanterns during Halloween season in North America.

Red Beans Info
Red beans or Azuki beans are widely used in Keralite dishes.  They are widely cultivated in NorthEast Asia and are readily available in Indian stores.  These beans require overnight soaking before cooking.  Like other beans the water in which the beans are soaked should be discarded, because they contain toxins.  Soaking the beans releases these toxins into the water and when cooked these toxins will be completely eliminated.  So it is always recommended to soak any kind of beans before cooking them.

3 cups - Pumpkin seeded and cubed
1/4 cup - Red beans soaked over night and pressure cooked (refer notes)
1 -  white onion chopped
2 - cloved garlic cut into halves
4 - small green chili splits
1 - tomato chopped
1/2 tsp - turmeric powder
1 1/2 cup - water
salt to taste

To grind
1/2 cup - grated coconut
1/4 tsp - cumin / jeera
5 - small shallots/pearl onions
1 - dry red chili
1/4 tsp - turmeric powder
1/4 cup - water

3 - shallots thinly sliced
1/4 tsp - mustard seeds
1 tbsp - grated coconut
1 tbsp - oil
1 - sprig curry leaves

  • Pressure cook all the ingredients from the first list except the cooked beans till 2 whistle blows.
  • Meanwhile the pumpkin is cooking grind all the ingredients from the second list to a smooth paste and keep it aside.
  • Once the pressure subsides, mash the pumpkin using a potato masher or a laddle.  Add 1/2 - 3/4 cup of water if the mashed pumpkin is too thick.
  • Add the cooked red beans and the coconut paste to the mashed pumpkin and cook till it boils for 2 - 3 minutes.  Turn off the flame.
  • In a non-stick/cast iron pan, splutter 1/4 tsp of mustard seeds in 2 tbsp of oil.  Add the shallots and grated coconut.  Cook till it turns golden brown.  Turn off the flame and add the curry leaves.
  • Garnish the curry with tadka and serve with warm steamed rice.
  • I usually soak 1/2 cup of red beans overnight and presure cook them with 1 1/2 cup water and a pinch of salt till 4 whistle blows.  I freeze the rest of the red beans in glass containers for later use.  Make sure not to over cook the beans.
  • Pressue cooking the beans and pumpkin together tends to lose the yellow color of the curry, so I always cook them separate.
  • Adjust the amount of chili if the pumpkin is sweet.
  • I don't use lot of water to cook the pumpkin, I prefer this curry to be thick.

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