Kerala has been on my mind a lot lately. This beautiful land has had to face the wrath of nature in the past two weeks, with lashing rains flooding the state. There has been so much devastation – so many people losing their lives, so many losing their homes, so many losing their near and dear ones. Watching the news about the Kerala floods has been heartbreaking.
Onam this year is going to be a lacklustre affair, in Kerala and elsewhere, if it is celebrated at all that is. In fact, it even feels weird to be talking about Onam when the state of Kerala is reeling from the floods. I pray for Kerala to rise above the waters that now flood it, to get back to being the beautiful, happy, healthy place it earlier was. Today, I share with you a beautiful Kerala-special recipe, my way of sending good wishes and positive vibes Kerala’s way.
The recipe I present to you today is that for Pineapple Pulissery, a delicacy from Kerala that is often part of the Onasadya (the full-fledged plantain-leaf meal that is served on the occasion of Onam). Pieces of ripe, juicy pineapple are cooked with a fragrant, flavourful, freshly ground paste, and then mixed with curd. Sweet and salty and tangy and sour all at once, Pineapple Pulissery makes for a wonderful accompaniment to a meal.
At home, we are all ardent lovers of pineapple. So, naturally, this Pineapple pulissery is a huge hit with us. This is such a simple thing to make, and I suggest you try it out too, if you haven’t ever. I am sure you will be charmed by it too.
Here is how I make Pineapple Pulissery, the way I learnt it from my mother-in-law.
Ingredients (serves 4-5):
- 1/4 cup fresh grated coconut
- 1 green chilly, chopped
- 1/2 tablespoon mustard seeds (rai)
- 1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds (jeera)
- A 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
For the tempering:
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
- A pinch of fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
- 2 pinches of asfoetida (hing)
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 3-4 dried red chillies
- 1 cup pineapple, chopped into medium-sized cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- Salt, to taste
- 2 tablespoons jaggery powder, or to taste
- 1 cup thick curd
1. In a small mixer jar, grind together all the ingredients listed under ‘To Grind’ to a fine paste. Use a little water to grind. Keep aside.
2. Take the pineapple pieces in a pan, along with some salt and turmeric. Add in about 1-1/2 cups water. Place on high flame.
3. Cook on high flame till the pineapple pieces start getting tender. Stir intermittently.
4. Now, add the paste we prepared earlier to the pan. Add the jaggery powder. Mix well, and turn the flame to medium.
5. Cook on medium flame till the raw smell of the paste goes away, a couple of minutes. Switch off gas. Let it cool down completely.
6. When the pineapple mixture has cooled down entirely, add in the thick curd. Mix well.
7. Taste and adjust salt if needed. You can add a little red chilly powder and water in too, if needed.
8. Now, we will prepare the tempering for the Pineapple Pulissery. Heat the coconut oil in a small pan, and add in the mustard. Let it pop. Now, add the fenugreek, asafoetida, curry leaves and dry red chillies. Let them stay in for a couple of minutes, taking care to ensure that the tempering does not burn. Switch off the gas, and add this tempering to the pineapple-curd mix in the other pan. Mix well. Done! Your Pineapple Pulissery is ready to serve.
- You may increase the quantity of coconut you use, if you would so like. Similarly, you may increase the quantity of mustard and cumin you use to grind into a paste. The above quantities were just perfect for us
- Use fresh, slightly sour curd for best results. You may increase or decrease the quantity of curd you use, depending upon personal taste preferences.
- Make sure all the cores and thorns are removed from the pineapple, before using them in this dish.
- Do not overcook the pineapple. They should be just cooked, but still retain some crunch.
- Pumpkin, ripe mango, raw mango are some other fruits and vegetables you can use in place of pineapple.
- You can even add in some garlic cloves and shallots while grinding the paste. I did not use them.
- For best results, use a pineapple that is fresh, nicely ripe, sweet and juicy. Do not use over-ripe pineapple. You may even use canned pineapple.
- Coconut oil is ideal for the tempering here.
- Do not heat the Pineapple Pulissery after adding in the curd, as that might cause curdling. This dish is meant to be served at room temperature.
- The Pineapple Pulissery can be served with rasam or sambar rice or with any other rice preparation. It can also be served as an accompaniment for a full-fledged plantain-leaf spread such as that for Onam sadya.
Did you like the recipe? Do let me know, in your comments!