Mathanga Erissery is pumpkin and black-eyed peas (chowli) in a mild coconut gravy. This traditional recipe from Kerala is a part of the Sadya, the festive meals served on Onam and Vishu.

Mathanga Erissery is a traditional dish from Kerala. This Pumpkin and Black Eyed Peas in a Coconut Gravy is a part of the famous festive meals called Onam Sadya and Vishu Sadya. This is a gluten-free, vegan dish with no onion  and no garlic.
Mathanga Erissery | Pumpkin and Black Eyed Peas in a Coconut Gravy

Pumpkin is a vegetable we all like at home and as a result, we make a lot of pumpkin dishes at home, including this Mathanga Erissery. However, I did not realise that I had not written about this traditional Onam Sadya recipe from Kerala till I read a comment by Sridevi of Coconut Craze on the Sri Lankan Pumpkin Curry that I posted recently.

I made this gluten-free, vegan Pumpkin dish today after many many months and took the opportunity to update this post from May 2014.

Tips to Make the Perfect Mathanga Erissery

  • In Kerala, Erissery is made with red cowpeas or vanpayar. However, these are sometimes hard to find in other locations and so I made them with regular black-eyed peas or Chowli.
  • Soak the black-eyed peas well so that they cook well. While I would recommend a minimum of 4 hours, I find that soaking them overnight gives the best results. On days when I forget to soak them at night, I soak them as soon as I get up so that they soak for 5 to 6 hours before I need to cook them for lunch.
  • The pumpkin should be ripe (bright orange) yet firm. Ripe pumpkin gives the Mathanga Erissery the depth of flavour it needs.
  • Use coconut oil for tempering, if possible.
  • Add coconut to the tempering. Believe me it gives this dish a wonderful flavour and aroma.
  • As with many dishes, let the Mathanga Erissery rest a bit after you make it, so that all the flavours meld and you get a delicious dish with layered flavours.
Mathanga Erissery is a classic dish from Kerala. Made with Pumpkin, Black-eyed peas and coconut, this vegan dish is savoured with rice
Mathanga Erissery

This is a no onion, no garlic recipe. However, many communities in Kerala use shallots or Madras onions in the gravy for Mathanga Erissery.

Erissery can also be made by replacing pumpkin with other vegetables such as raw jackfruit, yam, or raw banana.

Some Irrelevant Details About Me 🙂

My mother’s closest group of friends at work included a Parsi, a Malayalee, a Tamil Iyengar, a Palghat Iyer, a Sindhi, a Mangalorean, and a Maharashtrian.

All these people carried lunch from home and shared the goodies at meal times. Given that my mom was a foodie, anything new she ate and liked, she had to try out at home. As a result, we were quite used to having new dishes for lunch and dinner on Saturdays and Sundays. 🙂

The result was that I never sometimes quite realised that some of the dishes Amma made were not traditional Andhra dishes. They were something we ate regularly at home and when I discovered novel names for them later I life, I was vastly amused. Mathanga Erissery is one such dish. We have made is at home for as long as I can remember, but I discovered that it was a part of Kerala cuisine much later in life.

Some More Recipes for Onam Sadya

Here are a few more recipes that you can include in your menu for Vishu Sadya or Onam Sadya:

Find more traditional Kerala Sadya recipes in this Collection of Onam Sadya Recipes.

How to Make Mathanga Erissery for Onam Sadya

  1. Prepping the Peas
    1. Wash and soak 1/4 cup of black-eyed peas in 1 cup of water for 4 to 6 hours. I normally soak the peas overnight.

  2. Prepping the Pumpkin
    1. Use about 350 gms of pumpkin. After you peel it and discard the fibrous centre, you should have about 200 to 225 gms of pumpkin. 
    2. Scrape off the soft inside of the pumpkin.
    3. Peel the pumpkin and chop the pumpkin into 2″ pieces.
  3. Cooking the Peas (I start with this as it is the most time consuming part)
    1. First, drain all the water from the soaked peas.
    2. Now, wash the soaked peas well under running water and add 1/2 cup fresh water.
    3. Pressure cook the black-eyed for 3 whistles (releases of pressure) or till the black-eyed peas are just soft enough to mash but still hold their shape. If you have not been able to soak the peas for 4 hrs or more, I would recommend you pressure cook for 4 whistles, and then lower the heat and let the peas cook for 10 minutes under pressure.

    4. When the peas are cooked, discard all the water from the pressure cooked peas.
  4. Making the Coconut Paste (I do this when the pumpkin is cooking)
    1. Grind 1/4 cup grated coconut, 1 tsp cumin seeds and 2 green chillies with 2-3 tbsp water to a thick, coarse paste.
  5. Making the Mathanga Erissery
    1. To a heavy-bottomed vessel, add the pumpkin cubes, 2 large pinches of turmeric, 1/4 tsp salt and just enough water to cover the pumpkin pieces.
    2. Over medium flame, cover and cook till the pumpkin pieces are cooked. When the pieces are cooked, they will become translucent and can be cut easily with a spoon.
    3. When the pumpkin is cooked, lower the heat.
    4. Use a spoon to gently break the pieces. Do not mash the pumpkin, just break the pieces. 

    5. Now add the cooked black-eyed peas and the coconut paste.
    6. Using a gentle hand, mix well.
    7. If needed, add a little water and some salt. Do not add too much water; the Erissery should be like a thick stew.

    8. Simmer for a couple of minutes.
    9. Turn off the heat.
  6. Adding the Tempering
    1. In a tempering ladle, heat 1 tsp Coconut Oil.
    2. Add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds and wait till they splutter.
    3. Next, add 2 red chillies and a few curry leaves.
    4. Stir-fry for a few seconds till the chillies are well-roasted.
    5. Now add 1 tbsp grated coconut and stir-fry till the coconut dries out a bit, turns light brown and is fragrant.
    6. Add the tempering to the Mathanga Erissery and mix well.  
  7. Let the Mathanga Erissery rest for 10 minutes before serving as a part of the Onam Sadya or Vishu Sadya. On regular days, just serve it with some rice. It tastes great with rotis as well.
Mathanga Erissery (Pumpkin and Black-eyed Peas in a Coconut Gravy): A Gluten Free, No Onion, No Garlic Recipe
Mathanga Erissery: A Gluten Free, No Onion, No Garlic Recipe

Recipe for Mathanga Erissery

This pumpkin and black-eyed peas dish called Mathanga Erissery is a must for Onam Sadya.

Mathanga Erissery: Pumpkin and Black-Eyes Peas Curry for Onam Sadya

Aruna
Mathanga Erissery is a traditional Kerala dish made with Pumpkin and Black-Eyed Peas. This gluten-free, vegan dish is a part of the Sadya, or the festive meals served on Onam and Vishu. In Kerala, this no onion, no garlic recipe uses Vanpayar or red cowpeas but I made it with the easily available black-eyed peas or chowli.
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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Soaking Time 4 hrs
Course Accompaniment, Side Dish, Sides
Cuisine Indian, Kerala, South Indian
Servings 4 People
Calories 106 kcal
Equipment
  • Pressure Cooker
  • Heavy-Bottomed Vessel or Wok
  • Bowl for Pressure Cooking
  • Spatula
  • Grinder
  • Knife
  • Peeler
Ingredients
  
  • 350 Gms Red Pumpkin
  • 1/4 Cup Black-eyed peas (50 gms)
To Grind Together
  • 1/4 Cup Grated Fresh Coconut
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 2 Green Chillies
For Tempering
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 2 Red Chillies
  • 1 tbsp Grated Coconut
  • 1 tsp Coconut Oil or Vegetable Oil
  • A Few Curry Leaves
Other Ingredients
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • Salt to Taste
Instructions
 
Soaking the Peas
  • Wash and soak 1/4 cup of black-eyed peas in 1 cup of water for 4 to 6 hours. I normally soak the peas overnight.
Prepping the Pumpkin
  • Use about 350 gms of pumpkin. After you peel it and discard the fibrous centre, you should have about 200 to 225 gms of pumpkin.
  • Scrape off the soft inside of the pumpkin.
  • Peel the pumpkin and chop the pumpkin into 2″ pieces.
Cooking the Peas or Vanpayar (I start with this as it is the most time consuming part)
  • Drain all the water from the soaked peas.
  • Wash the soaked peas well under running water and add 1/2 cup fresh water.
  • Pressure cook the black-eyed for 3 whistles (releases of pressure) or till the black-eyed peas are just soft enough to mash but still hold their shape. If you have not been able to soak the peas for 4 hrs or more, I would recommend you pressure cook for 4 whistles, and then lower the heat and let the peas cook for 10 minutes under pressure.
  • When the peas are cooked, discard all the water from the pressure cooked peas.
Making the Coconut Paste (I do this when the pumpkin is cooking)
  • Grind 1/4 cup grated coconut, 1 tsp cumin seeds and 2 green chillies with 2-3 tbsp water to a thick, coarse paste.
Making the Mathanga Erissery
  • To a heavy-bottomed vessel, add the pumpkin cubes, 2 large pinches of turmeric, 1/4 tsp salt and just enough water to cover the pumpkin pieces.
  • Over medium flame, cover and cook till the pumpkin pieces are cooked. When the pieces are cooked, they will become translucent and can be cut easily with a spoon.
  • When the pumpkin is cooked, lower the heat.
  • Use a spoon to gently break the pumpkin pieces. Do not mash the pumpkin.
  • Add the cooked black-eyed peas and the coconut paste.
  • Using a gentle hand, mix well.
  • If needed, add a little water and some salt. Do not add too much water; the Erissery should be like a thick stew.
  • Simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • Turn off the heat.
Adding the Tempering
  • In a tempering ladle, heat 1 tsp Coconut Oil.
  • Add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds and wait till they splutter.
  • Add 2 red chillies and a few curry leaves.
  • Stir-fry for a few seconds till the chillies are well-roasted.
  • Add 1 tbsp grated coconut and stir-fry till the coconut dries out a bit, turns light brown and is fragrant.
  • Add the tempering to the Mathanga Erissery and mix well.
Serving Suggestion
  • Let the Mathanga Erissery rest for 10 minutes before serving as a part of the Onam Sadya or Vishu Sadya. On regular days, just serve it with some rice. It tastes great with rotis as well.
Nutrition Facts
Mathanga Erissery: Pumpkin and Black-Eyes Peas Curry for Onam Sadya
Amount Per Serving
Calories 106 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Sodium 228mg10%
Potassium 394mg11%
Carbohydrates 14g5%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 1299IU26%
Vitamin C 29mg35%
Calcium 38mg4%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword Eriserry, Gluten Free, Mathanga Erissery, No Onion, No Garlic Recipe, Onam Sadya, Pumpkin and Black-eyed Peas in Coconut Gravy, Vegan, Vishu Sadya
Tried this recipe?Do let me know how you liked it @aahaaram or tag #aahaaram!

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