August 13, 2018mayurisjikoni
Blog post

Recipe: Kalan

Kalan is a traditional yogurt or buttermilk based curry from the Kerala Cuisine. Usually plantain, raw banana or yam is used. It is also served as part of Onam Sadhya. A bit different from other yogurt based curries is that pepper powder is added to it.

Why I Made Kalan?

I must admit though I’ve been blogging for quite a number of years, I’ve yet to try out so many recipes. The list is endless. India itself has so much to offer. Each state or each festival has its own cuisine. My knowledge of South Indian cuisine was limited to idlis and dosas before I started participating in various groups and made some blogger friends. Through the numerous exciting  themes that the FoodieMonday group has offered so far, it has made me go searching on the world wide web, fellow bloggers blogs and sometimes recipe books to make something that fits the theme. And the festival Onam is one of them. FoodieMonday/Bloghop Group decided on Onam Recipes as their 157th theme.


What is Onam?

A bit about Onam. It is a festival that is usually celebrated around the month of August or September in Kerala and by Malayalis world over. The festival honors Vamana an avatar of Lord Vishnu and the home coming of Emperor Mahabali. It is believed that Emperor Mahabali’s spirit visits Kerala during this festival. Usually the celebrations take place over 10 days.

During Onam it is a tradition to serve sadya. What is sadya? It is a feast consisting of vegetarian dishes that is served on a banana leaf usually for lunch. Sadya means banquet in Malayalam. Sadya consists of several dishes. Can be anywhere from 16-26 dishes or more.  Most of the dishes served are simple to make. Typical sadya will consist of rice, side dishes, savouries, pickles and desserts.

Check out my post on Vellarikka Kichadi to know what type of food is served for Onam Sadhya.



I’d heard about Onam but had actually not bothered to find out more about the festival. The only thing I knew was that it is celebrated in Kerala, food is served on banana leaves and the famous boat competition. That’s all I knew. Now I’m a little wiser, know a bit more. Even made a traditional Onam Sadhya recipe which I absolutely fell in love with. Hubby thinks that I’m deviating from Gujju food to South Indian cuisine. But of course he is not complaining as he loves everything from rasam to kori gassi.

The advantage of living in gated community in India is that you get to experience or witness all the festivals of India. And I was lucky enough to witness an Onam procession with music and dance in our Bangalore Apartment Community. And in the evening we had the full sadhya/sadya meal.


My Dish For The Theme

I decided to make kalan as my family loves any yogurt based curry. We loved the simple but favourable curry. It has become a curry that I prepare quite often. Initally hubby’s comment was “why is the kadhi different?” After widening his knowledge about Kalan, he requested I make it again. Creamy, with flavour of coconut and a bit of sourness from the yogurt… perfect way to tantalize the taste buds.


Some More Yogurt Based Curries

Fajeto | Gujarati Mango Kadhi or mango curry is a delicious, sweet, tangy and spicy mango and yogurt curry. In fact, Fajeto is often made along with aamras.
Check out this recipe
Punjabi Kadhi Pakora is a popular North Indian dish with pakora or fritters in a creamy, flavourful and delicious  yogurt curry. The flavours of the chickpea fritters, the spicy yogurt curry all come together to produce a finger licking, satisfying dish.
Check out this recipe
Farali Kadhi/ Moriyo ni Kadhi is a delicious, gluten free yogurt based curry made using barnyard millet. Enjoy it with rice, Indian Flatbread or sip it on its own.
Check out this recipe
A creamy, thick yogurt and chickpea flour based okra curry which is famous in the Gujarati Cuisine. Best enjoyed with some pearl millet flatbread or wheat flour flatbread.
Check out this recipe
Yogurt Potato Curry is a creamy, delicious, slightly spicy curry. Enjoy it with any Indian Flatbread or rice. Easy to make, this curry generally features on my table when I have guests over. It is relished both by adults and kids. 
Check out this recipe
A mild but delicious curry with slight sweetness from the coconut, tanginess from the yogurt and flavours from the herbs and spices.
Check out this recipe
Rasiya Muthiya or Rasawara Muthiya is a traditional Gujarati recipe where instead of steaming muthiya they are added to kadhi and allowed to simmer till done. The muthiya are usually made with leftover rice or khichdi.
Check out this recipe



Ingredients Required For Kalan

Plantain – peeled and cut into chunks. Can use raw banana, yam(suran). Can use a both together.

Yogurt – plain and a bit sour. I used yogurt that is about 2-3 days old as it tends to get more sour.

Water – to add to the curry.

Turmeric Powder – haldi, hardar. Need a little. If you add too much the curry will appear dark yellow.

Red Chilli Powder – add according to your taste.

Salt – add according to your taste.

Pepper Powder – adjust according to your taste.

Curry Leaves – kari patta, limbdi. Need 2 sprigs. Can use dried curry leaves if you don’t have access to fresh ones. One sprig will be added to the curry while it is simmering and the other for tempering.

Coconut – preferably fresh, grated. Can use frozen if you have any.

Cumin Seeds – jeera, jiru. Need some to grind with the coconut.

Green Chillis – need 1-2. Chop them up.

Mustard Seeds – rai dana.

Fenugreek Seeds – methi dana.

Whole Dried Red Chilli – need one or two for tempering.

Coconut Oil – Kerala Cuisine use coconut oil in their cooking. If you don’t like coconut oil then use ghee or oil. But I highly recommend that you try this recipe with coconut oil.


kalan 1


kalan 2


kalan 3


kalan 4



Kalan is a traditional yogurt or buttermilk based curry from the Kerala Cuisine. Usually plantain, raw banana or yam is used. It is also served as part of Onam Sadhya. A bit different from other yogurt based curries is that pepper powder is added to it.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course curry, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian, KERALA
Servings 4



  • 2 large plantains
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups sour yogurt
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp pepper powder
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • tsp salt


  • ½ cup fresh coconut grated
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1-2 green chillis


  • 1 tsp coconut oil or ghee
  • 1-2 dried red chillis
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 sprig curry leaves


  • Peel and cut plantains into chunks. Do the same with yam if you are using any.
  • Add water in a saucepan along with the chopped plantain and sprig of curry leaves. Add a bit of salt and turmeric powder from the measured amount.
  • Put the sauce pan over medium heat.
  • Cook the plantains till they are done. By then most of the water will have evaporated. If you are using yam then add it with the plantain.
  • While the plantain is getting cooked, get the paste ready.
  • Grind coconut, green chillis and cumin seeds together in a food processor.
  • If required add a bit of water.
  • Add the paste to the yogurt. Add remaining salt, turmeric powder and chilli powder. Whisk it well.
  • Add the yogurt mixture to the cooked plantain. Reduce the heat and stir the mixture continuously till it becomes thick.
  • Let it simmer for a few minutes.
  • Take the pan off the heat.
  • Get the tempering ready.
  • Heat ghee in a small pan. Add fenugreek, mustard seeds and red chilis. Then add the curry leaves.
  • Pour the tempering over the kalan. Serve kaalan with rice or as a part of the sadya.


  • Make sure that you stir the yogurt continuously after it has been added to the curry.
  • You may use a combination of plantain and yam or either on its own.
  • When peeling the yam, rub your hands with oil. Otherwise your hands will itch.
  • Remember this curry is quite thick. Do not add water.
  • Use sour yogurt.
Keyword kaalan, kalan recipe, kerala style yogurt curry, onam special kalan

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A Little Request:

If you do try this recipe then please either
add a comment below,
send a picture to my email mayuri.ajay.patel62@gmail.com
tag me as #mayuri_jikoni on Instagram
or tag me on Twitter as #Mayuri1962









  • The Girl Next Door

    August 13, 2018 at 9:10 am

    I love the olan that is served at weddings and as part of the Onam sadya. I have never attempted it at home, though. Your version looks just perfect! 🙂

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 22, 2018 at 10:14 pm

      Priya this is a kalan. I think Olan is a bit different.

      1. The Girl Next Door

        August 23, 2018 at 5:29 am

        Oops, sorry, I meant to say kalan.

  • poonampagar

    August 13, 2018 at 9:15 am

    Awesome share for the theme di ! Love the sour coconut and yogurt based curries..and this kalan looks very inviting ! Coconut oil adds a distinct flavors which is unmatched.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 22, 2018 at 10:13 pm

      Thanks Poonam and yes the coconut oil though little added a distinct flavor to the kalan.

  • Sujata Roy

    August 14, 2018 at 11:48 am

    Kalan looks so tempting Mayuri. A completely new dish for me. I would love to try it soon.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 22, 2018 at 10:05 pm

      Thanks Sujata and try it out, its tasty and easy to make.

  • Saswati

    August 18, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    This looks so homely and inviting dee…heard of it but have never tried.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 22, 2018 at 9:59 pm

      Thanks Saswati, do try it, goes well with rice.

  • afoodiehousewife

    August 18, 2018 at 6:36 pm

    Extremely interesting and a new dish for me! Have never heard of it before! Seems to be fragrant, tasty and apt for the festivities!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 22, 2018 at 9:58 pm

      Thanks Mallika, its pretty easy to make and it did taste delicious.

  • Preethi Prasad

    August 19, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    Kalan looks so delish and inviting. I am a great fan of coconut based curries.Apt share for the theme.Made me nostalgic as this dish takes me back to childhood days when i had a malayali friend.Unfortunately we lost her few years back.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 22, 2018 at 9:57 pm

      So sorry to hear about your friend.

  • Ashima

    August 23, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    wow! Looks delicious and tempting. Totally agree with you that India itself has so many culinary gems to offer that it is not possible to know it all! So happy to come across traditional recipes because of the amazing world of food blogging.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 23, 2018 at 7:18 pm

      Thank you Ashima, and we have still so much more to discover.

  • Anshu

    August 24, 2018 at 8:46 am

    Kudos to you for sharing such beautiful traditional recipes which I guess most of us would not be knowing about. Frankly telling this recipe is very new for me Because I have never had yam and plantain in my life… I would really love to try out this recipe for sure. And also as I love yogurt based gravies this recipe would be just perfect for my tastebuds.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 24, 2018 at 2:56 pm

      Thank you so much Anshu.

  • Shobha Keshwani

    August 24, 2018 at 10:19 am

    Kalan looks simple and tasty.. I missed out participating this month.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 24, 2018 at 2:54 pm

      I know we missed you, but perhaps for the next one.

  • Priya Suresh

    August 24, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    Kalan is a must in Onam Sadya, such a delicious and my kind of comforting food. Inviting Kalan, makes me hungry.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 24, 2018 at 2:52 pm

      Thanks Priya, made it for the first time and loved it.

  • Malini

    August 24, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    Nice traditional recipe, I haven’t tried Kalan before. Sounds delicious with plantain, coconut and coconut oil. The flavor of this curry must be very unique. Thanks for the lovely share.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 24, 2018 at 2:52 pm

      Most welcome Malini and sometimes yam can be added along with the plantains.

      1. Malini

        August 24, 2018 at 4:31 pm

        oh ok. Thanks for the tip!

  • Ruchisvegkitchen

    August 25, 2018 at 6:43 pm

    very beautiful post .. Definately very tasty and super yummm. coconut flavour curry i love most.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 25, 2018 at 10:22 pm

      Thanks Ruchi.

  • Geetha Priyanka

    August 25, 2018 at 10:13 pm

    Long back I prepared Kalan, your post reminded me this awesome dish. I will try next time with coconut oil. Thanks for sharing…..

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 25, 2018 at 10:21 pm

      Thanks Geetha.. isn’t a comforting curry?

  • Seema Doraiswamy Sriram

    August 27, 2018 at 5:39 am

    Wonderful traditional recipe. My mom makes it so often, but unfortunately not my favorite.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 27, 2018 at 9:57 pm

      Thanks Seema, I just loved it.

  • kritisinghal2403

    August 27, 2018 at 8:35 am

    This looks quite interesting…Have never prepared anything like this before ever…

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 27, 2018 at 9:55 pm

      Thanks Kriti, try it and its easy.

  • Ritu Tangri

    August 27, 2018 at 8:48 am

    Blogging has this benefit, we come to know about so many cuisines and best is we try to make them as well. For me too, South Indian food used to be idli, dosa, sambar but now the horizon is widening. Thanks to blogging 🙂
    Never heard about Kalan, so a new addition to the dishes to be tried.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 27, 2018 at 9:54 pm

      Your’e so right Ritu, for me too it was just idli dosa and blogging has opened up a whole new world of cuisine. Try the kalan, its delicious if you love kadhi.

  • spiceaffairs2016

    August 27, 2018 at 9:18 am

    The recipe of kalan sounds so interesting , have never tried this before the way you have explained the recipe now its a must try for sure.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 27, 2018 at 9:52 pm

      Thanks Soma, please do try it.

  • jayashreetrao

    August 27, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    I agree, we have so many dishes to cook and learn in our own culture. The Kalan looks delicious, tastes good with hot steamed rice.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 27, 2018 at 9:51 pm

      Thanks Jayashree and yes kalan is awesome with hot steamed rice.

  • code2cook

    August 28, 2018 at 3:15 am

    seriously I already have previous blog’s recipes to post feels like just posting them altogether. So much to learn really. This recipe looks like kadhi to me, plantain with curd. Surely tasting flavorful with rice.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 28, 2018 at 11:19 pm

      It is like kadhi Bhawana but with plantain and yes we have so much to learn about different cuisines.

  • Nisha Ramesh

    August 28, 2018 at 8:28 am

    Totally agree with you Mayuri, we are traveling vice versa – from South to North and the blogging journey has widened our experiences. Kalan is our favourite as well.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 28, 2018 at 11:13 pm

      I totally agree with you Nisha.

  • Jagruti Dhanecha

    August 28, 2018 at 9:44 am

    So true, before blogging I was unaware of south indian cuisine too, idli and dosa that’s it. But since internet has arrived in our lives, the world and it’s cuisine is so much closer to us. I’ve never tried or heard about kalan, sounds so interesting and easy to prepare.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 28, 2018 at 11:13 pm

      Jagruti if you like the different varieties of kadhis then you’ll like kalan. Blogging has opened a whole new world of cuisine for us.

  • Must try Onam recipes – Kerala sadhya recipes – Lathi's Kitchen

    August 5, 2021 at 1:06 pm

    […] Kalan is a yogurt-based curry with yam and plantain. You can use both or either of them Check out the recipe here. […]

  • Kalyani

    August 27, 2023 at 3:06 am

    5 stars
    Kalan is the first thing we make for our mini Onasadhya at home. We love this with both Yam / raw banana and also combined. with some pappadum its yummm

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 27, 2023 at 7:43 pm

      Thanks Kalyani. We love it too. Next I want to try with yam on its own.

  • Seema Sriram

    August 29, 2023 at 6:03 am

    5 stars
    Hot rice, ghee and papadam with kalan soundlike a well-celebrated Onam meal for me. the kalan you have made looks so traditional.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 29, 2023 at 8:12 pm

      Thank you so much Seema, coming from you I know I nailed the recipe.

  • Priya Srinivasan

    August 29, 2023 at 9:41 am

    5 stars
    Kalan looks totally delish and inviting mayuri ji! Love coconut based dishes. Steaming hot rice with ladles of this yummy kalan and poppadum is bliss on plate!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 29, 2023 at 8:10 pm

      Thank you so much Priya. Totally agree with you, kalan and rice is blissful.

  • Archana

    August 30, 2023 at 7:09 am

    5 stars
    I love the simple easy and delicious Kalan. It tastes best with steamed rice and the banana chips on the side are tempting. Simple, . After this meal, I need a siesta.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 30, 2023 at 5:23 pm

      Thank you so much Archana. It is a satisfying and comforting meal.

  • Priya Vj

    September 1, 2023 at 11:16 pm

    5 stars
    Kalan is a must have on the Sadhya menu . I love the fact that this has a longer shelf life and stays good for few days in the fridge . I love to have Kalan with Kerala pappadam .

    1. mayurisjikoni

      September 5, 2023 at 11:05 pm

      Thanks Priya, had no idea it stays in the fridge. In fact never seem to have any leftovers.

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