Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sig's Butternut Squash Erissery

Anyone who reads this blog probably knows that I love "cooking from the blogs". I treat the food blog world as a virtual culinary school populated by the most talented teachers. It was quite natural for me to jump in and participate in an event called Taste and Create, hosted by Myamii at For the Love of Food. The premise is that she randomly pairs up bloggers, and they taste-test one recipe from each other's blog. What a neat way to learn from each other.
I do have my favorite blogs that I often try recipes from, but here was my chance to perhaps discover a new blog and its hidden treasures. As luck would have it, this month, I am paired with Sig of Live to Eat, a blog that I have been reading almost since it came to life!

Sig's blog is a unique blend of many fun-loving features, including reviews of Seattle restaurants (often eye-popping fancy-schmancy ones!), some talented mixology (I could use a gitatini right about now) and tastes of global cuisines. But this is what I treasure most about Sig's blog- her posts about the cuisine of Kerala, the Southern coastal state of India that is her native land.

"Heaven must be a bit like Kerala", says Madhur Jaffrey in her book A Taste of India, completely won over by the subtle and aromatic cuisine of this land; and reading Jaffrey's words makes me even more eager to learn more about Kerala's cuisine. Sig's recipes for classic Kerala dishes such as thoran and olan are exquisitely simple, bearing the promise of authentic home-style flavor. Most of Sig's vegetable recipes have been sitting in my bookmark folder for months on end and this was my chance to actually try one of them.

This being the season for butternut squash, I chose a coconut-based curry with a lyrical name, erissery. Butternut squash is folded into a silky paste of garlic, chillies and coconut, and then tempered with aromatics to make this festive dish which is traditionally part of the harvest feast of Onam. I was pleased to get a chance to use shallots in this recipe; that is an allium that I don't use very often.

Sig's Butternut Squash Erissery

(Source: this recipe on "Live To Eat")
2 C peeled and diced butternut squash
salt to taste
3/4 C grated coconut (fresh or frozen, thawed)
1-2 green chillies
1 clove garlic
1/2 t turmeric powder
1 t oil
1 t mustard seeds
2 sprigs curry leaves
1-2 dried red chillies
2 shallots, sliced thinly
2 T grated coconut
1. In a saucepan, place the butternut squash and add a cup or so of water, and salt to taste. Cook the squash until tender.
2. Meanwhile, grind the "paste" ingredients until smooth, adding a little water if required to make a smooth paste.
3. Stir the paste into the cooked squash and simmer for a few minutes.
4. In another small pan, heat the oil. Add the "tempering" ingredients (all except coconut) and fry until the shallots are golden. Stir in the coconut and fry until golden. Add the tempering to the curry, mix well, heat for a minute and then turn off the heat.

As Sig directed, I served the erissery with freshly steamed rice, papad and pickles. The erissery was everything I thought it would be- flavorful and delicate all at the same time, with the sweetness of the butternut squash contrasting with the rich coconut flavor and the heady aroma of curry leaves, garlic and shallots.

Hungry for more Kerala fare?
RCI Kerala Round-Up
Essence of Kerala

Thanks, Sig, for a "keeper" recipe! Sig made Mushroom Chettinad from One Hot Stove. Thank you, Myamii, for hosting this enjoyable event.


  1. Looks delicious Nupur, I seem to have missed this on Sig's blog, will check it out. Love the papads on the plate :)

    I just made my T&C dish from my partner's blog...will be posting it soon.

    And when I saw that you and Sig were paired up, I was like ....why wasn't I in either of your places...well I guess I don't need an event to try dishes from either of your blogs :D

  2. Nupur, I am awe-stuck by the way you approach each and every post of yours. You give everything your 100%. You could've just tried out one of my recipes and posted about it, but instead you go out of your way... That is what makes you soo special... Thanks and hugs to you for this post...

    Erissery looks wonderful, and you had it with papads... the only way to have erissery! Glad you liked it...

    As soon as I came to know that you are my partner, I have searched for and bookmarked a recipe... It was hard to pick just one, but finally zeroed in on a hot and spicy one...:) Coming up soon...

  3. Great write up of Sig's blog Nupur, and a lovely dish you chose! I like how you presented it, the sunny yello erissery on the bed of pure white -- beautiful! Sounds like a fun event! :)

  4. I fully second Sig's comments - you put so much of enthusiasm and care into each and every one of your posts, and that is why I love your blog so much.
    Erissery is one of my favourite dishes - I am one who can never have enough coconut, and this dish is a coconut-lover's fantasy come true!

  5. Beautiful dish -- and one that is completely new to me. How nice that you're partnering up with other bloggers each month -- what a wonderful way to discover new blogs!

  6. A beautiful writeup, written from the heart. Errisery looks so good, achar looks yummy too.

  7. This is one of the yummiest dishes ever! Erissery is always sooooooo good! That picture is just making me drool!! Rice, papad, pickle and erissery: Ok, i am self-inviting for dinner :-D. Can't resist the thought of squash, coconuts and chillies :).

    And what a cute idea for an event!

  8. Very interesting post Nupur. This is a very new dish for me and I love the way you have described it in such wonderful detail. The pictures are lovely too. I love butternut squash and have tried it in soups only. You have tempted me to try out this new dish. Thanks!

  9. What a lovely idea of exchanging recipes. And the erisseri looks great.

  10. Wow, this recipe sounds sublime....I am crazy about butternut squash !!! Thanks for another great recipe!

  11. Wow..this looks so good.I always enjoy reading your blog.... a treasure trove of Maharashtrian recipes and some more :)

  12. Good work , nupur ! Loved reading and admiring your presenation.

  13. That sounds like such a fun event, Nupur!
    I *love* how you have described the dish. Your erissery looks gorgeous.
    Cooking from other blogs is so much fun.:-)

  14. Good looking Eriserry Nupur! I have never really tried my hand at Kerala cuisine.. not sure why.. the only dish i have really made is the Avial which actually shares some Tamilnadu roots too! This post sure is tempting me.. not to mention u're lovely picture!

  15. Hi Nupur
    We all met at The cookers place and she showed us the arusuvai powder - we sniffed and sniffed, tasted the fiery powder - The glorious red color.. Waiting to see what the cooker is cooking with it..

    It reminded me of the maggi mealmaker smell.


  16. That looks Delish!!

  17. ohhhh this looks SO good. butternut squash is my absolute favourite vegetable, and i love coconutty-flavoured things too! will be trying this ASAP!

  18. i like the concept of T&C!! eventhough we usually do try recipes from other's blogs...this is a great idea!! :)

  19. I love your blog! I know I've said it before, but I can't help it - your writing makes me smile :)

    And the effort you put into every informative post of yours - quite amazing!

    I'll bet this erissery was awesome - Sig's kerala recipes do rock!

  20. this looks lovely. i saw ur mushroom curry in her blog too :) nice event idea. i will participate from next time on!

  21. Namratha, I loved those banana-choc muffins you made...very tempting!
    Yes, we don't need an event to try dishes from other blogs, but nothing like a deadline to spur one into action :D

    Sig, well, I could have gone on and on about those typical Kerala dishes you have on your blog, but I restrained myself :) I can't tell you how much we enjoyed the erissery!
    The minute you mentioned "hot and spicy" I just knew you had picked the mushroom chettinad :D

    Linda, the erissery looked and tasted so just warmed me up!

    Kamini, thank you :) and it is all because of lovely people like you who take the time to come over and read this blog!
    I am a coconut lover just like you, and boy, was it ever a satisfying meal :)

    Lydia, I know you have coconut milk in your pantry, but if you ever find some flaked fresh (frozen) coconut, this dish is completely worth a try! Also, the flavor of curry leaves really shines through here :)

    Vimmi, oh, the taste of erissery with a little dab of pickle was just heavenly!

    Musical, I know this is the sort of meal you and I both love :) garam-garam chawaal with a satisfying vegetable dish! Don't just talk; come on over already :D

    Namita, I am only starting to play with butternut squash myself, and so far have loved it in every dish I have made. You won't regret trying this dish :)

    Aparna, yes, the idea was a lot of fun!

    Goddess Findings, if you like butternut squash, I think you will enjoy this delicate curry. We have to thank Sig for sharing this wonderful recipe!

    Homecooked, thank you for delurking; it is nice to "meet" you :)

    Anamika, thank you, my dear!

    TBC, I just saw the dozens of dishes you have made from other blogs :) it certainly is something that has given me far more "keeper" recipes than any cookbook! The erissery tasted just wonderful.

    Latha, me too...for some reason, cuisine from Kerala remains relatively unexplored in my kitchen! Time to change that :) You have *got* to try this one- it is just so tasty.

    Revathi, yeah, that was some strong aroma, right?! :D I can't wait to see what she makes with it either. It reminded you of maggi mealmaker?! Yes, now that you mention it, I totally has that deep savory aroma!

    Nehaj, it tasted delish too :)

    Kat, I think you will enjoy this dish if you love both b-nut squash and coconut!

    Superchef, yes, I liked the concept instantly too.

    Kaykat, well, it is tit-for-tat, because *your* writing always makes me smile! Now I have to go and try all of Sig's other Kerala recipes.

    Nags, yes, I saw that too! Looks like we both had fun :) Just visit the host blog and add your name to the comment list when she asks for the next round of participants.

  22. Hi Nupur! This event looks like it was a lot of fun! And I love your butternut squash dish. Erissery is a really pretty name. By the way, I made your butternut squash and onion lasagna the other day. What a great recipe! I'm getting ready to write up a post. : )

  23. That looks nice Nupur! and I love the event idea, so thanks for sharing it with us:)

  24. this looks lovely... and as Sig puts it, you do give each post 100%.

    I've been reading regularly, but the comments section in blogspot give me problems... sometimes blogspot itself doesn't load... so I can't complain too much.

  25. Oh yummy. I love this dish. Back at home mom used to make them a lot.

  26. The colors just leap off the screen, Nupur. Thanks for sharing this recipe with us. Of course, it must have been hard to choose since everything Sig makes is so delicious! Enjoy your weekend!

  27. Nupur,

    What an interesting dish. I joined joined the event immediately after I read about it from your blog. Hopefully next time I get paired with you, I would not mind trying your whole blog :-)

  28. Hey Nupur,

    I tried this dish and it turned out to be awesome! I haven't tried many dishes from Kerala, but this sure is a good start. And I must say that I love your blog and presentation and the cooking tips. They are always great!!!

    Rock On!

  29. nicely done! Sig's erissery and your pictures look great.


  30. This is awesome post nupur !!!Erissery perfectly made ....super one ....

  31. That looks gorgeous - and with adjustable heat! (I'm a wimp; mon mari is not).

  32. Hi Nupur,
    Am blogging your Erissery as a model recipe in the 1001 Kerala curries cookbook at

    /Thanks for the recipe

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