When compared to red or green chilies, pepper is less often used in the south Indian cuisine as the main spice. However, there are certain specific recipes that use pepper as the key spice and eriseri (எரிசேரி) is one of them. Eriseri is a gravy preparation often made with yam, though plantains can also be used either alone or in combination with yam. Eriseri goes very well with rice and rasam. This pepper based kootu can offer a change from the routine gravies we make. Furthermore, you can make it along with rasam on the day following a heavy dinner or feast to settle the stomach. Let’s proceed with the recipe.
Ingredients: (Serves four)
Elephant yam (சேனைக் கிழங்கு) – peeled, cut into cubes, 2 teacups or 400ml measure
Salt – to taste
Turmeric powder – ½ -1 teaspoon (Adjust to taste)
Coconut oil – 1 tablespoon
Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves – a few
For the paste:
Coconut – grated, 2 tablespoons
Peppercorns – ½ teaspoon
Cumin seeds – ¼ teaspoon
Red chili – 1 no
Urad dhal – 2 teaspoons
Oil – 1 teaspoon
Method: Peel the skin of the yam and cut it into medium sized cubes. Wash very well and keep aside. Heat oil in a kadai; add red chili fry till it turns dark red in color. Now add urad dhal, cumin seeds and pepper corns and fry till the dhal turns golden brown in color. Grind the fried ingredients with coconut and required water into a fine paste. Keep aside.
Cook the yam pieces with salt, turmeric powder and 1 tablespoon water in the kadai on low heat till the vegetable is cooked. You may add little water if required, while cooking the vegetable. Now add the ground paste and bring it to boil. Simmer for 2 minutes and switch off the fire.
Heat coconut oil in a tadka pan or spice pan (தாளிக்கிற கரண்டி), add mustard seeds and once they start to sputter, switch off the fire. Add the seasoning to the kootu. Garnish with curry leaves. Serve hot with rice, rasam and pappad.
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