August 13, 2018mayurisjikoni



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.

kalan 1

kalan 2

kalan 3

kalan 4


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

For tempering:

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

  1. 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.
  2. Cook the plantains till they are done. By then most of the water will have evaporated.
  3. While the plantain is getting cooked, get the paste ready.
  4. 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.
  5. Mix the paste with the yogurt. Add remaining salt, turmeric powder and chilli powder. Mix it well.
  6. Add the yogurt mixture to the cooked plantain. Reduce the heat and stir the mixture continuously till it becomes thick.
  7. Let it simmer for a few minutes.
  8. Take the pan off the heat.
  9. Get the tempering or vaghar ready. Heat ghee in a small pan. Add methi, rai and red chilis. Then add the curry leaves.
  10. 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:



Blog post
yogurt cashew nut potato curry


Blog post
bhinda ni kadhi


Sending this recipe to the following event:





  • 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. […]

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