This is the signature dish of the Nairs of Kerala. It is both a popular home-style dish and one served at weddings.
- 1 cup (250 mL) plain nonfat yogurt, at room temperature
- 1 tsp ( 5 mL) cornstarch
- ¾ cup (175 mL) grated coconut, preferably fresh (or frozen, thawed, or dry unsweetened coconut powder)
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) minced green chiles, preferably serranos
- 1 tsp (5 mL) cumin seeds
- 1 green plantain
- 1 chayote squash (mirliton) or 2 cucumbers, thinly sliced
- 2 carrots, cut into 2-by ¼-inch (5 by 0.5 cm) batons
- 10 green beans, preferably slender, cut into 2-inch (5 cm) lengths
- 1¼ tsp (6 mL) salt or to taste
- ¼ tsp (1 mL) turmeric
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) coconut oil (see Notes)
- 1 sprig fresh curry leaves, stripped (12 to 15 leaves)
1. Stir yogurt and cornstarch together until creamy. Set aside.
2. In a blender, combine coconut, chiles, cumin seeds and ¼ cup (50 mL) of the yogurt mixture. Grind coarsely. Set aside.
3. Cut plantain, unpeeled, into ¼-inch (0.5 cm) thick disks. Cut each disk into ¼-inch (0.5 cm) strips, so that there is some skin on each piece.
4. Place plantains in a saucepan. Top with layers of chayote, carrots and green beans. Stir salt and turmeric into 1½ cups (375 mL) water. Pour over vegetables. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until vegetables are half-cooked, 5 to 8 minutes.
5. Stir remaining yogurt and coconut mixture into vegetables and simmer until vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. The sauce should be fairly thick.
6. Remove from heat. Stir in coconut oil and curry leaves. Serve over steamed rice.
This recipe serves 8.