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
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
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.