THEME: #157TH ONAM RECIPES
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. Through the numerous exciting themes that the FoodieMonday group has offered so far, its made me go searching on the world wide web, fellow bloggers blogs and sometimes recipe books to make something that fits the theme. Onam is one of them.
I’ve heard about Onam but have actually not bothered to find out more about the festival. The only thing I knew was that its 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 and even made a traditional 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. Personally I want to stick to the pachadis, rasams, thorans and payasams besides the famous idli, dosa and medu vada.
A bit about Onam. Its 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. To know more about the festival read this article.
During Onam it is a tradition to serve sadya. What is sadya? Its a feast consisting of vegetarian dishes that is served on a banana leaf usually for lunch. Sadya means banquet in Malayalam. Sadya consists of 11-12 dishes in all. Most of the dishes served are simple to make. Typical sadya will consist of rice, side dishes, savouries, pickles and desserts.
First rice is served and then the parippu (a green gram (moong) curry followed by sambhar which a lentil and vegetable curry. Side dishes like Avial (mixed vegetable stew), thoran usually made from beans, cabbage or chickpeas with coconut, olan a pumpkin and lentil curry made in coconut milk, Kaalan where yam and plantain are cooked in yogurt are served. Savouries like plantain chips and fried papads are served with a variety of pickles. For dessert payasam (a pudding made from rice or lentils using coconut milk or milk and garnished with raisins and cashew nuts ) is usually served along with a ripe yellow plantain. After the dessert comes some more rice and rasam. Rasam is a watery based pepper flavored with little lentils or none. It believed that it helps to digest the food.
I would have loved to make the full sadya for this theme, but it needs a bit of planning. So maybe I’ll make it someday. In the meantime what caught my attention for this Onam Recipes theme is a dish called Kaalan/ Kalan. Its a thick yogurt based curry, a bit sour and with yam and plantain added to it or either. Since I was not able to get elephant yam, I decided to use plantain alone. I served this delicious and healthy curry with some brown rice. It’s usually served with white rice or Kerala matta rice (red rice).
This sour yogurt and coconut curry was so simple to make and yet very flavorful. It reminded me of my favorite bateta dahi varu shaak (potatoes in yogurt). make sure the yogurt you use is sour.
Makes 4 servings
For the curry:
2 plantains, peeled and cut into chunks (about 1½ cups of diced plantain)
½ cup water
2 cups sour yogurt
½ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
½ tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp pepper powder
1 sprig curry leaves (kari patta)
1¼ 1½ tsp salt
For the paste:
½ cup grated fresh coconut
½ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1-2 green chillis
1 tsp coconut oil or ghee
1-2 dried red chillis
½ tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
1 tsp mustard seeds (rai)
6-8 curry leaves
- Add water in a saucepan along with the chopped plantain and sprig of curry leaves. Put the sauce pan over medium heat. Add a bit of salt and turmeric powder from the measured amount.
- Cook the plantains till they are done. By then most of the water will have evaporated.
- While the plantain is getting cooked, get the paste ready.
- Grind coconut, green chilis and cumin seeds together in a food processor. If you’re using a blender then add habit of yogurt from the measured amount.
- Mix the paste with the yogurt. Add remaining salt, turmeric powder and chilli powder. Mix 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 or vaghar ready. Heat ghee in a small pan. Add methi, rai and red chilis. Then add the curry leaves.
- Pour the tempering over the kaalan. 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.
- Remember this curry is quite thick. Do not add water.
- Use sour yogurt.
You may want to check out the following:
Sending this recipe to the following event: