January 20, 2009

Kaalan - Kerala Special

Kaalan is another signature dish of Kerala. Kaalan is equally famous like Avial. This is also a must for any Kerala sadhya (feast). Kaalan is semi sold gravy of raw plantain and yam cooked in yogurt-coconut mixture. The preparation of Kaalan will be started the previous day of the feast, since it takes longer time. We say kurukku kaalan. i.e. kaalan has to be cooked to semi solid consistency. Ingredients for kaalan and avial is almost the same but the way of cooking makes it entirely different in taste. The gravy consistency of avial can be thick or thin as is required. But when served for sadhya, it is always thick. Kaalan has a semi solid consistency. Though it is served as side, it goes very well with rice and can be used as main course. Kaalan with a simple vegetable stir fry or fried papad and hot rice is divine. I might be ready to trade anything for that comfort meal.
My grandma makes the best kaalan ever. Though my mom has inherited her culinary skills, still me amd my sister rate my paati's the best. Kaalan should be made in the right way, else it will taste like morkootan/morkuzhambu. Kaalan is distinct from all the curd/yogurt based gravies. For those of you who have not tasted it, do give a try and you will be hooked. This is one dish, where you cannot compromise on the quantity of coconut used.

You will need
Raw banana - 1 Yam(chena/chenai) - 200 gms

Black pepper powder - 1/2 tspn
Turmeric - a pinch
Sour buttermilk - 2 cups
Grated coconut - 1 1/2 cup
Green chilly - 3 nos
Gingely oil - 1 tblspn
Mustard seeds - 1 tspn
Red chilly - 2 nos
Fenugreek/methi seeds - 1/2 tspnc
Curry leaves - few.

Peel the skin of raw banana and yam. Cut them into 1 inch cubes. Wash and cook with turmeric and black pepper powder in a cup of water. I normally pressure cook them. Make sure it doesn't turn mushy. The pieces should remain firm on cooking. Take a thick bottom vessel or a kadai. Add the buttermilk to it. Bring to a boil and let it simmer till it reduces to 3/4th of the original volume. Since sour buttermilk is used, it doesn't curdle.Thick curd can also be used in place of buttermilk. Beat the curd well. It doesn't require to boil the curd, since it will curdle.

Grind coconut and green chillies to a coarse paste.Use minimum of water while grinding. The taste of pepper must be more prominent than the green chillies in kaalan.

Combine cooked vegetables, simmered buttermilk or beaten curd and ground coconut-chilly paste. Add salt. Cook on low flame till it reaches semisolid consistency.

Heat a tablespoon of gingely oil. Add mustard seeds. When it splutters, add red chillies broken into two, fenugreek/methi seeds and curry leaves. When methi seeds starts browning, pour over the cooked mixture.

Kaalan tastes best the next day and stays fresh for 2 days without refrigeration. No need to heat the kaalan before serving.

This is my entry for FIC-Yellow hosted by Sunshinemom


  1. Beautiful pic, J......
    True blue PI that Iam, kalan is one of my favourites.

  2. Thanks for the quick comment Jayashree. Howz is it at work after a break?

  3. Wow - this is a new dish. I know of avial, but did not know of this dish!

  4. Never tried this dish, love the color!Looks delicious! :)

  5. I love kalan, one of my favourite dish.

  6. Used to be amongst my fav. Palakkad dish till I went vegan. Yours looks tasty with the tadka on the top, Jayasree!

  7. Looks absolutely mouthwatering this dish never tasted one like this....

  8. ooh, looks so delicious Jaya! Mouth-watering!

  9. wow looks delicious .. will try this sometime

  10. have heard of kaalan , but had no idea how its made..looks nice..will try sometime..

  11. Kaalan is my favourite... Looks lovely and delicious!

  12. This is very close to what we make in karnataka "majjige huli" except we dont put pepper powder and turmeric and it wont be dry like this.

  13. i love kalan..i remeber this having during onam or vishu..urs looks delicious..

  14. Thanks for your sweet encouraging words on my daughter's blog. I appreciate it :)

  15. I love Kaalan, and I can never make it as well as my mom! I find it difficult to get the right consistency too. Yours looks so good, and it is a nice entry to the event:-)

  16. kaalan looks deleiouss jayshree

  17. True. Sadhyas, especially Onam and Vishu are incomplete without a Kaalan.

  18. My kaalan turns out like morkuzhambu :( ,so I do not make it at all.I like this dish.Your version of recipe is new to me.It is a must try now as the pics are tempting me.:P

  19. Yummm Kalan is my favorite of the Kerala dishes. Can't wait to try it.

  20. This dish is new to me Jayasree. I've heard and tasted olan but not kaalan. I'm going to try this when I find plantains next time. Aviyal is my favorite, so I'm sure I would like this.


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