Erissery means “paired together” and the dish is an essential part of a sadya. Here, we’ve paired butternut squash with adzuki beans, though traditionally this hearty dish would be prepared with the thick-fleshed pumpkins we grow in Kerala. Substitute with other varieties of pumpkin and squash when available in the fall.
- Dried Adzuki Beans (red cowpeas) 1 cup, soaked overnight
- Salt 3 1/2 tsp (divided)
- Butternut Squash or Pumpkin 1 lb, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- Indian or Thai Green Chiles 3–5, halved lengthwise, plus extra for garnish
- Ground Turmeric a pinch
- Chopped Ginger 2 Tbs
- Fresh or Frozen Grated Coconut 1 cup
- Cumin Seeds 1/2 tsp
- Coconut Oil 1/4 cup
- Mustard Seeds 1 tsp
- Curry Leaves 20, plus extra for garnish
- Bring a saucepan of water to a boil, add beans and 3 tsp salt, and cook for 15–20 minutes, or until softened. Drain and set aside.
- In a large saucepan, combine squash (or pumpkin) with chiles, ginger, turmeric, the remaining 1/2 tsp salt, and enough water just to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10–15 minutes, until the squash is very soft and almost dry.
- Using a mini food processor or a mortar and pestle, combine coconut and cumin seeds and pound into a smooth paste. Add half the paste to the squash mixture. Add the beans and mix well.
- Have a splash guard and measured spices nearby. Heat oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat until nearly smoking. Immediately reduce heat to medium. (You can test the heat of the oil by dropping in a couple of seeds. The oil is at the correct temperature when the seeds crackle, but do not burn.) Add mustard seeds and temper for a few seconds, until they stop popping. (Cover with the splash guard, if needed.) Add curry leaves and remaining coconut-cumin paste and cook for 1–2 minutes, until the coconut begins to brown.
- Transfer this mixture to the pumpkin erissery and stir well. Garnish with curry leaves and chiles. Serve with rice.