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.