A tangy and slightly spicy curry, packed with a ton of flavors from the coconut, cumin and chilies and the tomato and Indian yellow cucumber, this Cucumber Tomato Pulisseri / Vellarikka Pulissery with Tomato is a quick side to make to go with rice.
Cucumber in a curry? How is that possible? You must’ve had cucumber in salads, pickles etc, but probably not so much in a curry.
This is not your regular long green cucumber that is used. It is a regional variety from Southern India, an Indian Yellow Cucumber also called Vellarikka or Dosakai and has yellow green skin on it and has more of a round shape than being long. This variety of cucumber is used in a lot of curries across South India and a very popular combination is cucumber and yogurt curry.
This Vellarikka Pulisseri or Cucumber Tomato Yogurt Curry is made in the Kerala style with coconut in it too and is a popular side to go with the Kerala Matta Rice for Sadya ( the Kerala feast for special occasions).
A few other pulisseri recipes we have here are:
- Mambazha Pulisseri – Sweet and Sour Mango Curry
- Pazham Pulisseri – Ripe Plantain and Yogurt Curry
- Chembu Moru Curry / Chembu Pulisseri – Taro Root and Yogurt Curry
You can also find the collection of 40+ Kerala Sadya Recipes here.
Cucumber Tomato Pulisseri - Vellarikka Thakkali Pulissery - Cucumber Tomato Yogurt Curry
Taro root cooked with spices and simmered in a yogurt and coconut sauce is a wonderful tangy and cooling accompaniment to rice, especially on hot summer days. This Chembu Moru Curry also called Chembu Pulissery makes an appearance in the traditional Kerala feast called Sadya!
- 1 cup peeled and cubed yellow cucumber substitute with white pumpkin / ash gourd
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 roma tomato chopped
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne / red chillie powder
- salt to taste
- 2 cups sour yogurt
To grind to a smooth paste
- 1/2 cup grated fresh coconut (I buy the freshly frozen grated coconut from the local Indian store)
- 3 Thai green chillies
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
Cook the cucumber in water with the turmeric powder, cayenne and salt, till it gets just cooked. Add the tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes, till it softens.
While the cucumber and tomato is cooking, grind the coconut, green chillies and cumin to a very fine paste with a little water.
Once the cucumber and tomato is cooked, add the coconut paste to it and bring it to a boil.
Meanwhile, beat the yogurt well and keep it ready. Once the coconut - cucumber mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat and add the yogurt to this, stirring constantly. Cook till steam comes from the pan and don't let the curry come to a boil or else the yogurt will separate.
Switch off the heat. In a smaller pan, heat the coconut oil and add the mustard seeds to it. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add the curry leaves, dried red chillies and the fenugreek powder. Switch off heat and pour this over the taro root curry. Close the pan with a lid, to let the curry absorb the flavors from the tempering.
Mix well before serving and serve with hot rice and a side of vegetables.
The yogurt used has to be sour for the curry to be delicious. Keep the yogurt out from the refrigerator for a couple of hours for it to become a little sour.