Palakkad is a small but prominent district bordering Kerala and Tamilnadu. This verdant region of Kerala is unique as it became home to many Tamilians Brahmins who migrated centuries ago at the behest of the then ruler of Palakkad. As a result the regional cuisine as well as language is characterized by a harmonious blend of Tamilnadu and Kerala. Mathan Erissery is one such speciality. Consistency wise the gravy has to be as thick as that of sambar. The ground paste here is similar to that of molagootal but the tempering imparts a unique flavour to the dish. It is not an everyday dish owing to the rich coconut gravy but occupies a special place as it is generally served during important occassions like 'Vishu' (Kerala New Year) or household ceremonies etc.

vegan pumpkin coconut Indian
Mathan Erissery

Recipe: Mathan Erissery (Red Pumpkins in Coconut Gravy - Kerala/Palakkad Speciality)
Prep Time: 30 minutes.
Serves: 3 People
Cooking Level: Beginner/Easy
Recipe/Post by: Sunshinemom

2 cups Red Pumpkin, diced into 1.5 cm cubes
About 2 cups of Water
¼ tsp Turmeric powder
Salt to taste

Ground to smooth paste:
½ cup Coconut, freshly scraped
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
2 Dry Red Chillies (or more as per taste)
½ cup Water

1 tbsp Coconut, freshly scraped
1 tsp + 1 tsp Coconut Oil
1 spring Curry Leaves
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Dehusked Split Black Gram Dal/Urad Dal

vegan pumpkin coconut Indian
Step by step instructions for making Mathan Erissery

  1. Cook the red pumpkin in enough water to cover it alongwith half the salt and turmeric powder till cooked through but firm in shape.
  2. While the pumpkin is cooking prepare the coconut paste. Grind the coconut, cumin seeds and red chillies adding water little by little to chutney consistency (fairly smooth paste). The paste should not be watery.
  3. When the pumpkin is cooked through stir with a ladle so that the pumpkins mix with the water, and some of them break into pieces. Add the ground paste and bring to a boil. Stir so that the gravy and the vegetables come together rather than remain separate.
  4. Heat a seasoning wok with a drop of coconut oil. Add the coconut kept for tempering and roast till golden. Scrape the roasted coconut into the prepared gravy. Clean out the wok and heat 1tsp. of the oil. When hot add the mustard seeds. When they splutter add the urad dal and fry till pink. Add the curry leaves and when it crackles pour the seasoning into the gravy. Drizzle the other tsp. of raw coconut oil over the gravy. Mix well and adjust the salt.

vegan pumpkin coconut Indian
Mathan Erissery

Serving Suggestion:
  1. Take a ladle of rice. If not vegan, drizzle a tsp. of ghee over the rice. Top with a ladle of erissery (or more as it is pretty irrestible!). Mix, take in the aroma, savour and enjoy:)! Erissery is best accompanied by appalams or pappadams (Rice and lentil fritters)

Special Notes/Tips:
  • ¼th cup of cooked pigeon peas (arhar/tuvar dal) may be added to the cooked pumpkins but this is optional and used when one runs short of the vegetable.
  • Erissery is a Kerala speciality and is prepared with minor variations from region to region. The recipe above is essentially how Palakkad Iyers prepare the dish. However one many add a few sambar onions to the paste or a fistful of cooked black eyed peas to the pumpkins for variation.
  • Do not forget the raw coconut oil in the end. It adds quite a punch!

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  1. Parita // 14 May 2009 at 11:15  

    Thats very yummy pumpkin curry..looks good

  2. Alka // 14 May 2009 at 12:05  

    I didn't knew something made from Pumpkin could look this Gorgeous
    Yet to try my hand in coconut gravies, but this surely is tempting me to try it soon

  3. Ramya Vijaykumar // 14 May 2009 at 18:30  

    I have only had this back at home after that when ever I speak of this my inlaws think ofme from an alien world oh how much I miss this gravy1!!!

  4. Priya // 14 May 2009 at 18:59  

    Gorgeous Erissery...looks yummy!

  5. rekhas kitchen // 14 May 2009 at 19:58  

    wow that's atraditional one looks so delicious

  6. Sharmila // 14 May 2009 at 20:00  

    Wow! Pumpkin with coconut! Am trying this soon. :-)

  7. Kalyani // 14 May 2009 at 20:10  

    love the pumpkin curry ... i never prepared it .. but love when my mom used to prepare .... yummy & delicipus ...... thanks for sharing ...........

  8. Vani // 15 May 2009 at 01:46  

    Never tried erissery before. This looks great & from the recipe, sounds wonderful!

  9. Superchef // 15 May 2009 at 07:32  

    i love all kinds of erisseris..mathan is my favourite kind!

  10. jayasree // 15 May 2009 at 10:09  

    Another staple of PIs apart frm molagootal. The pacha mathan ( inside yellow with green skin) kind is preferred for making ellisery. I have never attempted with the red pumpkin. Now i think i will give it a try.

  11. Curry Leaf // 15 May 2009 at 14:22  

    Lovely traditional Kerala dish.the pic looks too tempting.Love it H

  12. Suparna // 15 May 2009 at 15:15  

    It's a great combo with rice, comfort food for any day :)Thanks for the lovely presentation. You ladies are doing a fab job, previous post of marie biscuit log was damn neat. I use to freak out on that during my childhood days, I'm tempted to make it sometime soon :) beautiful snaps.

  13. bhags // 19 May 2009 at 23:04  

    This is a wonderful thing you gals have started here.....I guess we have to change the idiom to 'too many cooks make a wonderful blog'....proud of u all gals

  14. Nithya Praveen // 21 May 2009 at 09:54  

    Wow looks heavenly.I simply love this one...we add coconut milk too to give a creamier texture.Lovely!

  15. Swarna // 3 November 2009 at 00:08  

    Just bought a pumpkin yesterday will try this. I always prepare with raw plantains. And I roast the jeera. Imparts a wonderful flavor.

  16. Tia // 8 March 2016 at 15:58  

    Perfect! I used to feast on this exact Palakkad recipe years ago and have been looking for the recipe since ages! Thank, Thank, Thank!