Pulinkari is a traditional dish made in a variety of ways in different parts of Kerala. The most common one must be the one with pumpkin. The sweetness from the pumpkin combines well with the hot and spicy gravy. Another common version is made with white pumpkin. Watermelon rind has the texture of white pumpkin and is slightly sweet, perfect for Pulinkari.
I adhere to some basic principles when I cook, like avoiding over cooking the vegetables, avoiding frying in oil and heating oil in high temperature. I try not to deviate from these guidelines even when I am cooking traditional dishes. I can assure you that the taste is not compromised, while making the dishes healthier. I also love to cook using traditional vessels. This one is cooked in stoneware (Kal-chatty).
Now for the recipe:
- Watermelon rind - 2 cups - cubed
- Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
- Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 tspn
- Channa dal -1 Tbs.
- Red chilly - 1-2
- Black pepper - around 10
- Virgin coconut oil -1 tsp.
- Tamarind - 1 Tbs. (adjust according to the kind of tamarind - and discard the seeds)
- Heat coconut oil on medium heat and roast channa dal, add fenugreek seeds, red chillies and black pepper and sauté till the fenugreek seeds are slightly red. Grind everything with coconut, tamarind and around 2 cups of water to make a very fine purée.
- Add watermelon rind cubes and the ground coconut tamarind purée to a stoneware or a heavy bottom saucepan and simmer on medium heat for 5-10 minutes. Watermelon cubes will still be crunchy and that is the idea.
- Virgin Coconut oil -1 tspn.
- Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 tspn.
- Chopped red onion - 2Tbs.
- Heat coconut oil on medium heat, add fenugreek seeds and roast till slightly red. Add chopped onion and sauté till onion is slightly golden. Add this to the gravy.
- Serve warm with brown rice.