RECIPE: Green Yogurt Curry With Summer Squash

majjige-huli1 chitra agrawal

Tomorrow, we’ll be gathering at the Brooklyn Brewery for our latest event on how to prepare an Indian feast. We’ve invited some of our favorite experts to lead a panel discussion with demos and small bites. One of those panelists is local Indian food maven Chitra Agrawal of Brooklyn Delhi and The ABCDs of Cooking.

She’s a walking, talking guide for a range of traditional Indian cooking techniques, as well as ways to adapt them to our everyday lives. Check outher green yogurt curry with summer squash recipe, as well as theshakshuka recipe that we shared last week, and comesee her demo (for only $5) in person at the brewery on Wednesday, August 6!

We’ve been experiencing a pretty intense heat wave on the East coast, which was all the reason to prepare my mom’s recipe for majjige huli, a South Indian green yogurt curry made from ground coconut, cilantro, green chilis and spices. Usually my mother prepares this dish with watery squashes like chayote or ash ghourd or eggplant, and in the past I’ve shared my Aunt Karen’s recipe for majjige huli using cucumbers (below).

This is one of my most favorite dishes that is rarely found in restaurants and primarily prepared in Bangalore homes. Its closest cousin is Thai green coconut curry, but combined with a cold cucumber soup. It’s very flavorful and super healthy for you — the recipe calls for only 2 teaspoons of oil!  You can also prepare majjige huli with buttermilk. This time I did a combo of yogurt and buttermilk because that’s what I had.

Summer is when my fridge is stocked to the brim with summer squashes from the farm share so, instead of using cucumber (as listed in the following recipe), I applied those to the majjige huli recipe I had.

zucchini chitra agrawal
The texture worked out really well and in order to get the right tenderness for the squash, I cut them and steamed them. I’ve found that this is the most efficient way to cooking pieces of squash uniformly.

cutzuchini chitra agrawal

After steaming I threw them into a cold ice bath to stop them from cooking.

zucchini-in-water chitra agrawal
Also got a small bunch of cilantro that I used in the recipe.  Fresh cilantro really makes a difference.

cilantro chitra agrawal

Along with the coconut, chilis and cilantro, you also grind in black mustard seeds, cumin, turmeric and roasted chana dal. On the left (below) is chana dal and on the right is roasted chana dal. If you don’t have the roasted kind, you can soak the one on the left in hot water for 15 minutes and use that as a substitute.

IMG_0965 chitra agrawal

Majjige huli

Courtesy of Karen Vasudev

1-3 green Serrano chilies (to taste based on size and desired “hotness”)
1/2 bunch green coriander leaves washed and cleaned
1/4 cup of a fresh coconut or 1/3 cup unsweetened desiccated dry coconut
1/4 cup roasted channa dal (you can use chenna dhal soaked in hot water for 15 mins. if you don’t have roasted channa dal)
1/8 to 1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2-3/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
2 red chilies
2 sprigs curry leaves (optional)
3 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1” wide pieces (see above for tips on substituting summer squash)
1 1/2 cups of plain yogurt (natural style without gelatin or other additives; the amount of yogurt can be adjusted to taste based on spiciness)
Salt to taste
1 tsp oil for tempering

1.  Peel the cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise, remove the seeds, and cut in half again lengthwise. Then cut into 1” wide pieces (see above for tips on prepping squash).

2. Boil in salted water until tender (about 10-15 minutes); cover for the last 3-4 minutes. Drain all but about 1 cup of the water and set aside to cool.

3. Meanwhile, in a blender container add the following ingredients in the following order: roasted channa dal, coconut, green chilies, coriander leaves, turmeric, cumin seeds and leaves from 1 sprig of the curry leaves. Now slowly add the cup of cooled cucumber water and blend to a smooth paste — add just enough of the remaining cucumber water as needed to keep the blender blades moving.

4. Whisk the yogurt to a smooth consistency and add the blended mixture to it. Continue to whisk until well blended. Taste to adjust salt. Add the cooled cucumber pieces and stir to mix.

5. In hot oil, fry the mustard seeds till they pop (use lid to prevent spattering). Immediately reduce the heat, add curry leaves from the remaining curry leaf sprig and the red chilies. Heat for about 30 seconds. Immediately add to the yogurt mixture and mix well.

6. Serve your majjige huli (either cold or at room temperature) with rice and enjoy!

Photo credit: Chitra Agrawal

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