Menaskai/Menaskayi is one of our coastal specialities, which is a hot, sweet and sour, sesame flavoured coconut-based curry. Normally made with bitter or tangy things like Bitter gourd, raw mango, wild mango or pineapple. We even prepare by mixing Bitter gourd and raw mango as well. It is a common dish in any of our elaborate menus for festivities, usually served on a plantain leaf, like poojas or weddings. This same curry is prepared in a little different way in other parts of Karnataka and known as “Gojju”.
Here, the main trick is-balancing of all the flavours.
If you are preparing with sour vegetable or fruit, there is no need to add additional tamarind. For example, if you are preparing raw mango or mixture of bitter gourd and raw mango Menaskai, there is no need to add tamarind. If you are using pineapple, tamarind should be added.
Here I have used pineapple and the procedure goes like this-
Pineapple – 1/2 (chopped into bits)
Raw mango – 1/4 (chopped into bits)
Tamarind – gooseberry size (if the mango is not available)
Jaggery – as needed
Green chillies – 2 (slit)
Fresh Coconut gratings – 1 to 1 ½ cups
Methi seeds – 1/4 tsp
Urad dal – 2 teaspoons
Sesame seeds – 2 teaspoons (U can use black or white)
Dried red chillies – 8 – 10 (we use Byadagi variety)
Coconut oil – 2 to 3 teaspoons (1 for roasting + 1 for seasoning + 1 tsp to garnish)
Mustard – 1 tsp
Dried red chilli -1
Curry leaves – 2 springs
-Clean pineapple by removing the outer skin, chop into bite-size pieces.
-Cook pineapple pieces and mango pieces or tamarind with little water, turmeric, salt, jaggery, green chillies and curry leaves.
-Dry roast sesame seeds. Now fry all the masalas for grinding. First heat 1 tsp of oil, put methi(fenugreek) seeds. When it is light brown, add all the other ingredients like urad dal, red chillies and fry until urad dal is light brown. Now it is the time to put coconut and fry further for 2 minutes or until you smell the nice aroma.
-Cool the mixture, grind into a paste by adding sesame seeds and sufficient water as well.
-Add this paste to the cooked pineapple, check for salt and jaggery. Adjust the consistency by adding water and boil nicely in a simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
-After boiling, add 1 tsp of raw coconut oil as well as the seasoning with coconut oil, mustard, red chilli and curry leaves. Close the lid and leave it to soak all the masalas for half an hour.
-Serve with hot rice.
-After boiling, the gravy should be a little thicker than normal sambar.
-Taste should be sweet, sour, hot. So adjust the addition of jaggery accordingly.
– We usually relish this dish the next day of preparation, usually with Neer Dosa or chapati/Roti. 😊