The vegetable used in Menaskai is usually bitter, sour or sweet. Depending on the taste of the main vegetable used, the remaining flavours are balanced. If you use sweet pineapple or mango, you would use less jaggery and if you use bitter or sour vegetables, less tamarind and more jaggery to balance out the taste.
Cluster Beans / Gorikai / Goruchikkudukaya, diced into 1 inch - 1 cup
For the ground masala:
Fresh coconut - 2 cups
Dry red chilies - 6 to 8 nos
Black sesame seeds - 2 tsp
Oil - 1 tsp
Jaggery powder - 2-3 tbsp
Tamarind - 1 small marble size, soaked and pulp extracted.
Salt to taste
For the tempering
Oil - 2 tsps
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Garlic - 6-7 cloves
Dry red chili - 1 to 2
How to make Gorikai Menaskai
Cut the cluster beans into 1 cm pieces and boil it with a cup of water and salt to taste. Let the cluster beans get just cooked and not overdone.
To make the paste
Heat a pan with a tsp of oil, add red chilies, fry for couple of minutes. Then add sesame seeds and fry for a couple of seconds.
Next add the coconut and roast it all together till the coconut turns light golden. Let the mixture cool down.
Grind this spice mixture with tamarind, jaggery and about 1/2 cup of water. Grind everything into a very smooth paste adding more water if required.
To make the gravy:
Add the coconut paste to the cooked cluster beans. Season it with salt and bring it to a boil. Add more water depending on the desired thickness of the curry. It should be as thick as the dosa batter. Taste it and adjust the flavours according to your preference. Let it simmer for 5 minutes and turn off the heat.
For the tempering
Heat coconut oil and mustard seeds in a little pan. When the mustard starts to splutter, add the lightly crushed garlic cloves. Fry till the garlic turns golden and add the dry red chili. When the chili turns bring red, turn off the heat. Pour the tempering over the curry.
Serve with Rice
Other vegetables which can be used instead of cluster beans are bitter gourd, pineapple, mango, cluster beans and hog plums. Balance the sweet and sour ingredients depending on the flavor of the vegetable used.
You can use both desiccated and frozen coconut instead of fresh coconut
I read that Menaskai usually tastes better the next day. So if you are serving it for dinner, try to cook it in the morning and let it sit the whole day. After boiling it a few times, it gets really thick like a chutney and the flavours get much stronger.