Mathanga Erissery / Pumpkin Dal



South Indians very rarely make plain Dal. We usually add a vegetable or two in them and call each of them with different names even though they might have the same kind of lentils and involve the same process. If you think – that is one big bag of stupid, it really isn’t. Each different kind of vegetable gives a different flavor and identity to the Dal that you can’t help but christen it with a new name :).

The Mathanga Erissery, a sure dish of an Onam Sadhay is made of yellow pumpkin or squash and Red Chori or Azuki Bean. Traditionally the consistency of it is usually very thick almost like mashed potatoes. But I  make it into a gravy and relish it with rice, papadams and lemon pickles.

3 cups diced yellow pumpkin
1/2  cup Red Chori/ Azuki Beans, soaked in water over night
1/2 cup grated coconut
7-8 finely sliced shallots
1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
1/2 tsp of chopped garlic
1/2 tsp ground fresh pepper
1/4 tsp chili powder-1/4tsp
1/4tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
2 green chilies
2 dried red chilies
salt to taste
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp ghee
1 sprig of curry leaves


  • Grind coconut, 1/3 of the shallots, green chilies, cumin and 2 curry leaves to a coarse paste and keep aside.
  • Pressure cook dal, pumpkin, turmeric powder, pepper and chili powder in 1cup of water.
  • Heat coconut oil in a pan and add 1/2 of the mustard seeds.
  • When they pop add the dried red chilies, half of the remaining shallot, garlic and sauté until shallots are translucent.
  • Add the cooked dal and pumpkins to this and mix in the ground coconut mixture.
  • Add water to get the desired consistency and add salt to taste.
  • Mix well and bring to boil.
  • Heat ghee in a seasoning pan, add the remaining mustard and when they pop, add in the remaining shallots and curry leaves.
  • Fry the shallots until they are deep brown.
  • Turn off the flame and pour the seasoning over the dal.
  • Stir in the seasoning and turn off the flame.
  • Serve with rice, pickles and papadam.
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