11 June 2008

Manga Perukku - A union of Mango and Coconut

During most of our summer school holidays, my sister and I accompanied our grandparents for a vacation to our native village in Kerala. A long train journey through the countryside across five states took us to our destination, reaching in the wee hours of the morning when the rest of the world was fast asleep. We'd wait for the sun to rise before catching a connecting local train to our beautiful, little village, the excitement of our "real" vacation keeping us wide awake. Pacing up and down the platform under the watchful eye of our grandfather, drinking piping hot "Milma" milk, watching the sky slowly change from a dark black to a mellow blue and admiring the blue Western Ghats at a distance before hoping on to the old, steam train, rushing to reserve our window seats. As the train slowly chugged on spewing tiny flecks of coal and lots of smoke, we stuck our noses out of the window grill wide-eyed at the flowers, the greenery, the mangoes and jackfruit. Soon we arrive at our village railway station that is only a flag-post announcing the station name, jumping off onto the cobbled stones that make the platform and unload our luggage, watching the lone other person there - the station master - waving a green flag as the train slowly pulls away. We walk towards our ancestral house, passing by the village pond, my sister and me asking our grandma, if we can bathe there? "Not today, maybe tomorrow", she says. We sight the house, the one with the red hibiscus bush hanging over the walls. As we approach the house, we hold on to our grandparents hands tightly, hearing the dogs bark wildly in the backyard. Our grand-uncle opens the gates for us, with our grand-aunt rushing close behind, welcoming us into the house. After ensuring that the dogs are securely tied up, my sister and I undertake a brave walk through the front yard inhaling the fragrant roses and jasmine of many varieties, discussing if the lone “bubbleemoose” aka pomelo was ripe enough to be eaten. Then we check out the backyard, eyes wide open at the countless mangoes hanging from the trees, counting how many jackfruit we can actually eat before the end of our vacation, watching the coconut plucker climb up expertly, giving the coconuts a firm shake near the ear to test the ones ready to be pulled down and throwing them down to his assistant who husks the coconuts with a sharp knife called “koduvaal”. By this time grand-aunt joins us, giving us a tour of the backyard pointing to the drumsticks, curry leaves, chillies, cheera or amaranth leaves, marachini or tapioca, chena or yam, chembu or colocassia, tamarind….. there is enough growing to make a lovely lunch! (End of Part I....to be continued.)

Maanga perukku is a lovely amalgamation of mango and coconut simmered with a few spices, that I first tasted at my native village. It is served as a side dish for lunch usually paired with rice, curry and a thoran. The mango used in this recipe is an almost ripe mango which imparts a sweet-sour note to the dish. The coconut has to be freshly grated - dessicated coconut will not serve the purpose. It is cooked on a low flame with ground coconut till the flavours of coconut and mango mingle without either flavour dominating the dish. On the whole this dish is sweet, sour and very, very delicious that will have people eating out of your hands!

You'll need:
1 cup mango, skinned and chopped into tooth-like bits
1 cup coconut grated
2 green chillies
1 tsp cumin seeds
a sprig of curry leaves
2 dry red chillies
1 tsp mustard seeds
salt to taste
2 spoons curd or buttermilk

In a thick bottomed pan, heat a spoon of oil. Add the mustard, red chillies and curry leaves and let it splutter. Add the mango and 3 tbsp water and let it cook slightly for 2 minutes.

Grind the coconut, cumin seeds and green chillies with very little water to a fine paste. Add this mixture to the mango and let it cook on a slow flame for atleast 10 minutes. Then add the curd or buttermilk and salt and continue to cook it for another five minutes, till all the flavours merge. Serve warm or at room temperature.

The key to this recipe is freshly grated coconut. I'm probably the only soul around here who goes through the process of cracking open a coconut and grating it on a chirava. I do occasionaly buy freshly grated coconut from supermarkets but strongly believe that those grating-machines haven't been washed in eons!

This post goes off to:

Click: Yellow for Bri (Read more about it here)

Meeta's Monthly Mingle#23 - Mango Mania

AFAM - Coconut hosted this month at Suganya's Tasty Palettes


Indranee Batabyal said...

Thank you Jyothsna! I'm glad that you liked my recipes.This mango and coconut combination is fascinating. With mangoes available aplenty this season, this one is worth giving a try:)

Happy cook said...

Such a nice post. I could really imagine you and sis walking around the yard etc.... My dads place is in Thakazhy and i remember when we went to see grandmother we used to want to bath in the river there.
Delicious dish. Send it to Meeta, it is Mango the theme for MM

Sia said...

wonderful write-up jyo... i could clearly imagine u and ur sister in piggytails , all excited and having lots of fun at ur grandma's house :)

sra said...

Jyothsna, though I never had a village to visit in the summer, I lived the experience through your write-up!

bee said...

that village sounds magical. which one is it? lovely dish and click.

Cham said...

Never had a dish like that, love the color :) Mango and coco should pair well!

Mallugirl said...

feel like i just got off the train in kerala.:)have to try this recipe. thanks for the evocative description.

Jyothsna said...

Indranee - Try this recipe and let me know how it turned for you.

Happy Cook - Thanks, I've sent it to MM.

Sia - In piggytails :) Ya, it was something like that!

Sra - I took my husband there last year and he loved the place - his first time in a village!

Bee - Any village in Kerala is magical when you go there from the concrete jungles of Mumbai.

Cham - Welcome to Currybazaar! Mango and coconut pair really well, try it! See you around!

Mallugirl - I'd love to go to Malabar side and have a biryani cooked in a crockpot!

Swati: Sugarcraft India said...

The write up is extremely interesting..You have had a wonderful childhood..
Will await to read Part 2 ...
The dish looks yumm!!

bhagyashri said...

Lovely post Jyothsana. I could really visualise your journey & your house in your native place.
Waiting for Part II :)

Asha said...

Great post J, enjoyed reading it just like shn's posts!:)

Rice looks yummy. Great entry for all of those!:))

Sagari said...

nice post jyo

Sukanya Ramkumar said...

WOW... This is a very nice post. That was a YUMMY! recipe... Sounds great..

Meeta K said...

wonderful idea. rice mixed with mango and coconut is an exceptional combination. thank you for your entry!

Vani said...

What a lovely, unusual recipe, Jyotsna! Nice entry for MM :)

Uma said...

that's a lovely post Jyothsna! Lovely combo of mango and coconut. looks so delicious. Thanks for your sweet comments on my blog.

Jyothsna said...

Swati - It was a whole new world for us kids to experience a village life!

Bhagyashri - Welcome to Currybazaar! Thanks for those nice words!

Asha- Now thats a sweet compliment...Thankyou:)

Sagari - Good to see you around!

Sukanya - The recipe is awesome, do try it if you get good mangoes where you live.

Meeta - Good to see you here. Mango and coconut pair very well. See you around!

Vani - Thanks... it is so simple actually.

Uma - You are welcome and do drp by again.

Kalai said...

Wonderful post, Jyosthna! You brought back memories of going to my village in Tamilnadu... So different and magical for us, too! Wonderful recipe with mango and coconut. Thanks for sharing! :)

Prema Sundar said...

While I was reading ur post I actually went back to the memories of my summer trips to my native village.Nice post and the manga perukku looks lovely too.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

I've never heard a pomelo called bubblemousse. But it is a fun word, isn't it? Your description of the simmering mango and coconut is making my mouth water. Mmmmm.....

Madhavi said...

Hi...this is very nice recipe. Looks great, yummyyy!!!

Thanxxx for visiting blog :)))

Aparna said...

Love anything mango and this is one of them.
Your post brings back memories, Jy otsna. We used to do this once every two years and the journey used to take us almost three days on a train that used to puff out enough smoke to turn us into golliwogs!
But we used to look forward to it. The fruit trees, vegetables, sweets and savouries stocked in my Grandmother's jars, being forbidden I could go on forever!:D

TBC said...

I've never heard of this dish, or maybe I know it by a different name. At first i thought it might be a mango pachandi...

My mom used to use the cherava till she had a back problem. She now uses one of those things that makes use of vacuum to fix it onto a kitchen counter.

Andhra Flavors said...

Great post Jyothsna, enjoyed reading it. and rice looks lovely.

Sig said...

Nice walk down the memory trail Jyo... I've never heard of this dish!!!!! It sounds amazing though!

Jyothsna said...

Kalai - Going to a village from a city is a whole world of difference.

Prema - Glad that my post brought you some good memories :)

Susan - I didn't know a bubbleemoose was a pomelo!! :)

Madhavi - Welcome here and keep coming by!

Aparna - Wasn't that what summer holidays were about? :)

TBC - Yeah, maybe it's called differently but it is a lovely combo!

Andhra Flavours - Thanks for stopping by!

Sig - Maybe it is a speciality in our house only!! :)

Anonymous said...

a beautiful walk down memory lane;
Enjoyed your writing. What a dream house that must have been. :-)

Thank you for stopping by - now I have tagged your blog.

Thank you.

KayKat said...

Ohh ... your memories leave me hankering for mangoes and jackfruit - always so awesome to pluck them off the trees :)

And obviously, perukku is delicious - I often want to just eat a bowl of it!

Jyothsna said...

Arun - Thanks for dropping by! Good to see you here.

Kaykat - There is something about plucking off a ripe fruit and tasting it's goodness no?

Mishmash ! said...

How did I miss this beautiful post!!!!! what a simple tasty dish.....all elements of kerala cooking written all over its forehead :)

Jyothsna said...

Shn - Thanks:) I personally love this dish a lot and it is a big hit whenever I've made it.

Anonymous said...

What a great resource!