Moru Curry, also called Moru Chaaru or Moru Kachiyathu, is a Kerala specialty. It refers to a simple dish made by tempering curd with a variety of ingredients. It might be humble, but this is one delicious dish. Today, I’m going to share with you all my family recipe for Moru Curry.
What goes into this Moru Curry?
The major ingredient in Moru Curry is curd – thick curd whisked with a little water. The curd is flavoured with a tempering of mustard and cumin, asafoetida and ginger, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves, green chillies and dry red chillies, in coconut oil. Everything is simmered together on gentle heat, and that’s it. It is that simple a dish to prepare.
Some other versions of Moru Curry use shallots and garlic cloves, while some others have a coconut-chilly paste added in. I learnt this recipe from my mother-in-law, who makes it without onion, garlic and coconut. I prefer keeping it basic, her way.
I’m amazed by the sheer variety of curd-based dishes that Kerala cuisine has to offer, including Avial, Pulissery, Inji Thayir, Pachadi and Moru Curry. From what my mother-in-law tells me, Moru Curry is a humbler version of the Pulissery, which requires even fewer ingredients and no vegetables. This is more of an ‘everyday’ kind of dish, which is prepared in Kerala households when there are no vegetables or an excess amount of curd at hand. Moru Curry is sometimes part of the elaborate sadya or plantain-leaf spread that is served on the occasion of Onam, but it might have ground coconut and green chillies so as to make it richer.
How to make Moru Curry or Moru Chaaru
Here is how we go about it.
Ingredients (serves 3-4):
- 1-1/2 cups thick curd
- 1/2 cup water or as needed
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- A 1-inch piece of ginger
- 2 pinches of asafoetida
- A pinch of fenugreek seeds
- 2 green chillies
- 3-4 dry red chillies
1. Take the curd in a large mixing bowl, and add in the water. Mix well.
2. To the curd mixture, add salt to taste and turmeric powder. Whisk together well. Keep aside.
3. Peel the ginger and chop very finely. Slit the green chillies length-wise. Keep the curry leaves ready.
4. Heat the coconut oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the mustard, and let it sputter. Now, add in the asafoetida, curry leaves, slit green chillies, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, chopped ginger and dry red chillies. Let these ingredients stay in the hot oil for a couple of seconds, keeping the flame low.
5. Now, switch off gas and allow the tempering to cool down. Add in the whisked curd at this stage. Set the pan on low heat and allow it to get heated up gently, so as to prevent the curd from splitting. Stir well.
6. Let the curd mixture cook on low heat for 3-4 minutes. Stir intermittently. That’s it – your Moru Curry or Moru Chaaru is ready. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature with steamed rice.
#MilkyWay at Foodie Monday Blog Hop
I’m sharing this recipe in association with the Foodie Monday Blog Hop.
The Foodie Monday Blog Hop is a group of passionate food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every Monday. The theme this Monday is #MilkyWay, wherein we are showcasing recipes that use milk and its derivatives like curd, cheese, paneer and the likes. With Onam just around the corner, I chose to share this Moru Curry from the state of Kerala, for the theme.
It was Swaty of Food Trails who suggested the theme for this week. She has a wealth of Indian regional delicacies, gems from global cuisine and several wonderful bakes on her blog. I’m in love with her Mango Falooda, and can’t wait to try it out!
A word of caution
As humble as the Moru Curry is, it requires a bit of practice to get it right. There are chances of the curd splitting while cooking, which alters the taste of the dish completely. I have had my fair share of heartache with this dish, after which I finally perfected it.
Please read through the ‘Tips & Tricks’ section of this post before attempting this recipe – I have shared helpful suggestions on how to stop the curd from splitting.
Is this Moru Curry vegan and gluten-free?
Thanks to the use of curd, this is NOT a vegan or plant-based dish. It is completely vegetarian, though.
It can be made gluten-free by simply avoiding the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most Indian brands of asafoetida do contain wheat flour to a lesser or greater extent and are, therefore, best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet.
Tips & Tricks
1. For best results, use curd that is nice and sour, but not overly so.
2. Adjust the quantity of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the Moru Curry you require. I prefer keeping it slightly thick and not very watery.
3. You can use either store-bought or home-made thick curd. Here, I have used home-made curd.
4. Adjust the number of green chillies you use, depending upon personal taste preferences.
5. Make sure you add the whisked curd to the tempering in the pan only after it has cooled down. Also, it is imperative that the curry is cooked on low heat. This will ensure that the curd does not split, the occurrence of which will alter the taste of the Moru Curry.
6. I prefer the ginger to be chopped really fine, in this Moru Chaaru or Moru Curry.
7. Using good-quality coconut oil in the tempering is a must, for an authentic Moru Curry.
8. Like I was saying earlier, there are a few variations to this Moru Curry. Some people add in garlic cloves and shallots (small onions) along with the ginger. Some add in a paste of grated coconut and green chillies. This is my family recipe, which is simple and basic, no-onion and no-garlic.
9. Do not cook the curd mixture for too long. Just 3-4 minutes on gentle heat is good enough. This also helps stop the curd from splitting.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!