Anai Pachadi (Elephant’s Ear Squash Stew) Squash Stew in Mustardy Coconut Tamarind Gravy

Anai pachadi as this stew is called in Tamil is a stew made with squash that is simmered in a gravy made of tamarind, coconut and mustard seeds.

No! The stew is not made with elephant’s ear 😁

“The name of the recipe comes from how the yellow butternut squash is cut – in the shape of the elephant’s ear – like a trapezoid 😊. ” cousin Meera

The inspiration

I had this outstanding squash stew made by my cousin Meera a couple years ago. She had made it during our Indian fall festival of Navratri and I’ve been salivating over that stew ever since.

Sweet Savory Spicy Sour

I love a dish with sweet and savory flavor and this stew has just that. The sweetness is from the squash and coconut, and the savory comes from the mustard seeds, green chili and fragrant curry leaves. The added dimension is tamarind. Tamarind adds its earthy sourness to the dish. Really a fabulous stew that tastes outstanding with a steaming bowl of basmati rice.

About the recipe – Anai Pachadi (Elephant’s Ear Stew)

The stew is made in four easy steps. First cook the squash in tamarind water. Step 2 make a paste with coconut, mustard seeds and green chilis. Step 3 add the paste to the squash. Step 4 lastly season with toasted mustard seeds, red chilis and curry leaves.

Mustard seeds for that unique mustard flavor

Mustard seeds are ground up with coconut to make a paste. Its the crushed mustard seeds that give the dish it’s unique raw mustard flavor. In addition to the raw seeds, mustard seeds are also toasted in oil and added to the cooked stew . This gives another layer of mustard seed flavor.

Really easy to make and delicious, this stew is one of a kind. Give it a try!

Squash Stew in Mustardy Coconut Tamarind Gravy
recipe contributed by cousin Meera


2 cups butternut squash – Cut it about 1/4 inch thick and 1 inch wide. If you can manage to shape it like a trapezoid – great 😁
1-2 green chilis – seeds removed to keep it mild
2 dried red chilies – seeds removed to keep it mild
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp hing – asafetida powder
5-8 curry leaves
2 tbsp tamarind pulp or 2 tsp tamarind paste
1/2 cup shredded coconut


Cook the cut squash in tamarind water. Add 2 cups water, salt, turmeric powder, 4-5 curry leaves and tamarind.

Make the coconut mustard paste by grinding shredded coconut, 1 tsp mustard seeds and green chilies. Add a little water to get a paste consistency.

Mix in the coconut paste after the squash is cooked. Bring the stew to a low simmer, the paste will make the stew thicker, feel free to add a little water.

Season with mustard seeds, red chilis and curry leaves. In a small pan warm 1 tbsp oil. Add the mustard seeds and let a few pop. Then add in the red chilis, asafetida and curry leaves and swirl in the oil. Immediately add this to the stew.

Squash stew is ready! Garnish with cilantro and ghee. Serve warm with basmati rice or quinoa or have it along with naan or chapati.

6 thoughts on “Anai Pachadi (Elephant’s Ear Squash Stew) Squash Stew in Mustardy Coconut Tamarind Gravy”

  1. Dolly, Iyengars call this kadgpuLi. It can be using squash, or eggplant, or coyote squash, or Ash gourd. We also made it using Beet Root( but the color some people can’t stand it).

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