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
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 | KAALAN RECIPE
FOR THE CURRY:
- 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
- 1¼ tsp salt
FOR THE PASTE:
- 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.
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