Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Mathan and Payar Puzhukku (New Year's Day Black-eyed Peas & Pumpkin Stew)

A Puzhukku is simply a fragrant stew flavored with coconut, chiles, cumin seeds and fresh curry leaves; karamani (dried cow peas/red chori beans), are often added to vegetable puzhukkus to make them hearty.

Puzhukku is a traditional home-style thick Kerala stew to accompany plain rice or kanji (gruel typically made with a grain like rice, wheat, etc). This one is made with Kabocha squash, a sweet pumpkin-like winter squash with green skin and usually the traditional karamani beans. Black-eyed peas make a great substitute when karamani/cow peas are not available as they are in the same family and very close in taste.

Black-eyed peas are eaten on New Year's Day for good luck according to the Southern tradition in the United States - a very tasty and nutritious tradition that I am very happy to observe :). They are a great addtition to Mathan Puzhukku. 

The chiles, cumin, and coconut flavor the stew beautifully; the protein-rich black-eyed peas balance the sweetness of the squash perfectly.  If a spicier stew is required, increase the chiles to kick up the heat.

Other winter squashes/pumpkins may be used to prepare puzhukku; both black-eyed peas or cow peas work well in this stew.  I love to serve puzhukku over grains like rice or quinoa and sometimes just on its own. Puzhukkus are often served as a breakfast or as a light meal anytime with kanji in Kerala homes.

Kabocha & Black-eyed Peas Puzhukku
4 Servings


1/2 cup Black-eyed Peas
1/3 of a medium Kabocha
2 fresh green Thai Chiles
1/4 tsp ground Turmeric
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/4 cup fresh or frozen grated Coconut Or 2 Tbsp dry unsweetened
1/2 - 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 dry Red Chile
1 stem fresh Curry Leaf
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil


Pick over the black-eyed peas, wash, and cook in water to cover until soft but not mushy.  Set aside.

Peel the kabocha if you wish and cut into small bite-sized pieces.

Place kabocha and the Thai chiles in a pan with turmeric, salt and just enough water to barely cover the veggies.

Bring to a boil and cook until kabocha is tender.

While the veggies are cooking, coarsely grind cumin, coconut, and red chile using a blender or spice grinder.

Add the coconut mixture and the cooked black-eyed peas to the veggies and simmer for about 5 minutes or so.

Crush the curry leaves in your hands and add them to the stew; drizzle the coconut oil on top of the curry leaves.

Cover immediately and let rest for about 10 minutes or until ready to serve.

Fish out and discard the green chiles so no one accidentally chomps on them.

Stir gently to mix well before serving hot or warm.  Enjoy!!


Anonymous said...

Mampayar is not black eyed peas

Geetha said...

Hello Anon, I use black eyed peas often as it is very easily available in most places and have worked very well for me. The Kerala payar traditionally used in our household is known as karamani, thatta payar, or red chori in the stores. When karamani is not available, black eyed peas (close in taste) are a lovely substitute!
Happy Cooking!