Saturday, December 30, 2006
How poduthuval got its name, I don’t know. Perhaps it was called "Podithooval," which literally meant sprinkling of powder. In this dish, traditionally no coconut was used and the curry was thickened with a powder made of roasted rice and red chillies. Now a days, of course, since coconuts are plenty, as usual with any kerala iyer recipe, a dash of coconut with green chillies is used to flavour this dish.
Poduthuval does not have a dal in it and no spice except coconut and green chillies.
Many people refer to different dishes as poduthuval these days, for want of a right name.
During the olden days, in the monsoon months of Kerala, when coconuts and vegetables were scarce due to the incessant rains, the only vegetables available were the summer gourds that had been preserved by hanging from the ceilings (cucumbers, white and red pumpkins) and the shoots of colacasia from the backyard, which would sprout in the rains. So the menu more often than not consisted of a poduthuval made from one of the above. Even there, the chembuthandu (colacasia shoots) poduthuval and pulinkari took prominent place. It tasted delicious. Some of them were dangerously itchy though.
I must admit, as children we never liked the chembuthandu poduthuval as it did not have the rich coconut flavour in it.
During the off monsoon seasons poduthuvals were always enriched with coconut. Some of the most common poduthuvals are mathan (red pumpkin) and chakkaravalli kizhangu (sweet potatoes – my dad’s favourite) idichakka (tender jackfruit), elavan and chakkakottai (white pumpkin or winter melon and jackfruit seeds), etc.
For long, I had not made this poduthuval and actually had forgotten about this dish. Ten years ago, when I visited my athai (paternal aunt) my athan(athai's son) told me, "Amma has made a special dish for you, mathan and chakkaravalli kizhangu poduthuval." I enjoyed the poduthuval made by my athai and on my return made the same poduthuval during my dad’s visit. He loved it, and said, "besh, besh!"
I visited my athai last week after 10 years. Though she is in no condition to do any housework now, I remembered my last visit and her poduthuval. On my return I prepared the dish remembering my athai.
Now for the recipe:
Red Pumpkin : 250gms
Sweet potatoes: 250 gms.
Turmeric powder: 1 tsp.
Coconut: 2 tbsp.
Green chillies 2nos.
Jaggery 1 tsp.
Salt to taste
Coconut oil 2 tsp.
(any cooking oil may be used)
mustard seeds : 1 tsp.
split urad dal: 1 tsp.
curry leaves : a few
Cut the vegetables into 2" cubes. Cook with turmeric powder and salt and jaggery (this may be done in a pressure cooker). Though both pumpkin and sweet potatoes are sweet, a little bit of jaggery enhances the taste.
Grind the coconut and green chillies, coarsely, without adding water.
Heat the coconut oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the urad dal. When the dal starts turning to a pink color, add the curry leaves and add the boiled vegetables. Boil for 5 minutes stirring well. Add the ground coconut mixtrure and boil for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat.
ENJOY with rice or rotis.