My paternal grandmother, ammoomma, used to make the best Kalan in the world (to me). She insisted on going traditional all the way, right from using the now archaic virakaduppu (fuelled by wood) and kalchatti (stoneware). Somehow, the kalchatti taste just cannot be fully replicated in a non-stick kadai sitting pert on a cooking range!
Kalan is very similar to pullisseri (morekuzhambu). In our family, the difference between the two is that the former is thicker,creamier than the latter. Some zones of Kerala would say the difference is in the raw bananas that are used in Kalan. But, in our family, raw bananas are never used in either dishes.
The recipe I am going to share uses very ripe, large Kerala bananas or Nenthranpazham (ethappazham). In case you don't get it, you can use ripe mangoes or just avoid the pieces all together. The curry tastes just as yummy without the pieces.
Thick curds (yoghurt) - 250 ml
Nenthran pazham (ripe Kerala banana) - 1 large
Green chillies - 2 Nos
Red chilli powder (cayenne pepper) - 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
Grated coconut - 3/4 th cup (150 gms approx)
Small onions (shallots/scallions) - 3 Nos
Cumin (jeera) - 1/2 teaspoon
Green chillies - 3 Nos
Pepper corns - 3 Nos
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
Mustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Fenugreek seeds (uluva/vendayam/methi) - 1/4 teaspoon
Dry red chillies - 3 Nos
Curry leaves - 3-4 sprigs
Whisk the curds well with a fork. If you are using store bought curds,whisk, and let it stay at room temperature with the addition of 2 slit green chillies. This ensure that a slightly sour flavour permeates the curds.
Finely grind all the ingredients for the masala ensuring that the green chillies are added when the paste is almost done. Grinding green chillies too much can sometimes imbue the dish with a bitter taste and this doesn't go well in kalan.
Heat a teaspoon of oil in a thick bottomed vessel and crackle the mustard. Follow up with the fenugreek seeds ensuring that these don't burn (if it burns, it turns very bitter). Add the dry red chillies and curry leaves. Cube the nenthranpazham and add in along with the chilli powder and turmeric powder. Add a little water and cook till pieces are soft. Add in the ground masala and saute for a couple of minutes. Carefully add in the beaten curds and keep stirring on very low fire till tiny bubbles break the surface. Don't stop stirring or the curds break. Add salt to taste. Take off from flame and let stay for half an hour atleast before use.
Kalan tastes even more fantabulous the next day.
PS: If you dont find nenthranpazham or ripe mangoes, and want to try the version with no pieces in, just crackle the tempering, saute the masala and go ahead straight to adding the curds.
This is my fifth entry to Asankhana's Festive food event - Onam celebrations. The event is on at AsanKhana
My dear friend, Sripriya of srikarskitchen, has given me the Perfect blend Of Friendship Award. I've been getting so many friendship awards that it makes me feel that food blogging is indeed a very nice way to find warm hearted kindred souls whom otherwise I would've never met.
Thank you, Sri for this blend of Trust, Kindness, Honesty, and Caring. This time I'd like to pass this on to Divya Vikram of divya-dilse; Vidhya of My Recipies (iyercooks)who gave this to me the first time; Priti of indiankhanna; and, Suma Rajesh of sumascuisine .