Chef Benny’s sweet, sour and spicy pumpkin, banana, and pineapple khichadi (curry) is an easy Kerala recipe – a curry of pumpkin, fruit, coconut, yogurt, and spices. Sweet, sour, salty, and spicy, this is the perfect side for a grilled piece of fish or a nice teriyaki chicken breast. It is also satisfying with just plain white rice!
- 1 cup of diced pineapple (about 150g – this about a third of a small ripe pineapple, peel cut and core into half-inch cubes. If using canned pineapple, cut rings into 1/2” pieces)
- 1 cup diced pumpkin (about 150g)
- 1 cooking banana, semi-ripe, cut into ½ inches circle and halved (about 1 cup or 150g)
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground Kashmiri chili, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
- ½ cup grated fresh coconut, or about 4 tablespoons
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 whole green chili
- 1 cup water – divided
- 1 cup fresh plain yogurt
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 5-6 fresh or dried curry leaves
- 2-3 dry red chilies
- 3 tablespoons ghee – divided into two
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the ghee in a wok or a 9-inch frying pan on medium heat. Add pineapple and cook, stirring occasionally for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the pumpkin, banana, salt, and ground Kashmiri chili, and cook uncovered raising heat to high, for about 6 minutes, stirring continuously.
- Grind coconut, cumin, turmeric, and chili with ½ cup water in a grinder or food processor for about ½ minute until well blended. Add to fruit and cook for a minute.
- Beat or whisk yogurt with ½ cup of water until smooth. Add to curry. Allow to cook on a slow boil on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. Curry is done when pumpkin and pineapple pieces are tender.
- Heat the remaining ghee on medium heat in a small frying pan. Add mustard seeds.
- When the mustard starts to sizzle and pop, add curry leaves and whole dried red chilies, and stir about 2 minutes.
- Pour the tempered ghee with the leaves and chilies into your curry pot.
- Serve warm with rice, or as a side dish with any meal.
Recipe Credits: The original recipe was taught to me by Chef Benny Thomas, of the popular restaurants in Cochin – Oceanos and Fusion Bay. See blog Cochin Cooking Class with Chef Benny.
The pumpkin and pineapple, of course, are critical. If you are using a ripe green banana instead of a cooking banana, add it only at along with the coconut paste and not earlier, as the curry will get very mushy. If you use dried (not sweetened) or desiccated coconut, soak it in milk for ½ hour in advance. Yogurt, coconut, and turmeric are critical. You can add ½ a teaspoon of ground red chili instead of the green chili. If you leave out the curry leaves you won’t get a full authentic flavor, but you will still have a nice sweet, sour, spicy side dish. Ghee gives the curry richness and complements the sweetness of the pumpkin and fruit. Coconut oil works well too, but you can substitute the ghee with any mild-flavored oil for frying and tempering.