Pondicherry, the Union territory in the South is famous for multiple things, from the future township of Auroville to the beautiful next-generation architecture. Every travel itinerary to any place in India is incomplete without the super spicy dishes and cultural extravagance. When it comes to Pondicherry, Kadugu Yerra tops is the undisputed winner, with its spicy flavor that invites anyone to give it a try.
Kadugu Yerra (Kadugu – mustard, Yerra – prawn) consists of prawns that are cooked with tomatoes, potatoes, coconut milk and a spicy mustard paste. Prawns are cooked in a variety of ways, from gravy to fries to biryani being the most sought after. This dish is also cooked in the parts of Kangeyam which is in the Kongu region of Tamil Nadu. The common form of this dish, the Yerra Thokku (a much thicker version of the original dish) happens to be the locals’ favorite.
Unlike the complex flavor that the dish brings, it is quite easy to prepare. Follow this step by step process of the dish.
a) Peel the prawns and clean them at least thrice using turmeric powder and salt. Turmeric being a natural anti-bacterial keeps the microbes away.
b) Pour either olive oil or the commonly used groundnut oil in a pan and sauté it. Once it is hot, add mustard, curry leaves and finely chopped onions.
c) A finely ground ginger garlic paste is now added which brings out the characteristic taste of the dish.
d) Sauté it until the raw smell leaves and add turmeric powder to bring the natural color of the dish, Chili powder, mustard powder and chopped tomatoes. I wouldn’t advise adding artificial colors which will obviously make it look like street food.
e) This is followed by adding the prawns, coconut milk and enough salt and left to boil under a medium flame. The coconut milk is the neutralizer that gives the thick gravy texture and also keeps the mustard flavor intact but only a substantial amount is preferred.
f) Do not let it boil for a longer time, as it makes the prawns rigid and so remove only the oil added started to appear on the surface. This, according to the local chefs is an indication that the dish is ready to be served.
People prefer to add drumsticks, potatoes or even cauliflower to this but this can be customized. This is best served hot with white rice and rotis. If you are a spice lover, I highly recommend not to miss this when you come to Pondicherry.