For the natives of Travancore, ‘nalla mulaku’ or black pepper is an indispensable part of their authentic cuisine. The ‘nalla mulaku’ curry or pepper curry in which black pepper is the main spice is definitely one of their favourite dishes. Known for its incredible health benefits, pepper is used generously in many Ayurvedic concoctions.
The ‘nalla mulaku’ curry is an effective remedy against many stomach-related diseases. It is an excellent side dish in both pregnancy and post-delivery diet for women. It was widely believed that the curry could help tone down the post-baby belly.
In the olden days, ‘nalla mulaku’ curry would be strictly prepared in every house hold at least once in a month, as it was believed that the medicinal properties in it would ensure the overall health of the family members. It is mostly cooked during the monsoon season as it maintains the body temperature.
Besides, it is an amazing remedy for cold, frequent sneezing, allergies, head ache, joint pain etc. It has been proved that black pepper increases the temperature of the body thereby protecting it from many infections.
1 coconut grated
A fist full of dried black pepper
5 garlic cloves
1 tbsp chilli powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
2 cloves of Malabar tamarind (kudam puli)
50 gm shallots chopped
1 cup yam or raw plantain, cut into small pieces
2 tbsp coconut oil
¼ tsp mustard seeds
Roast the grated coconut, black pepper and garlic together in a pan
Grind this mixture into a fine powder and then add chilli and coriander powders into it
Add salt and tamarind extract
Mix them into a smooth paste
Cook shallots and yam/raw plantain together, and sauté it well using coconut oil
Mix the cooked yam/raw plantain with the previously prepared paste, and cook it for a few more minutes
Roast some mustard seeds in oil and pour it over the curry
‘Nalla mulaku’ curry, which is very spicy, is not ideal for those who suffer from piles disease. It is not only an excellent side dish for rice, but can also be consumed as a kashayam (medicinal concoction). The black pepper kashayam prescribed by local physicians for weight loss is also a variant of this curry.