Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Kaalan(കാളന്‍ )

The Kerala cooking bug has bit me.. I am missing home and so I  am making a lot of dishes which I have grown up eating.Whether it be sambaar,kaalan, rasam .. they are all associated with memories of my home.. memories of “amma’s cooking” or “ammumma’s cooking”..and occasionally   “ my maid’s cooking”…Most of the families in Dubai have gone to Kerala for a vacation and my cousin sister here is also preparing to leave which makes me want to go home all the more… But I have to wait..As I write this I am thinking of my home,my loved ones.. the n number of sadhyas we have had,the green fields, the rains ( which I hear has reduced a lot),the load shedding..which comes a s result of less rainfall( those who do not know load shedding.. it’s the scheduled powercuts )…i sound as if i have been here for years..its's just been 3 and 1/2 months!!!!!..oh I miss my home….
Today am sharing a very very typical Kerala  dish-Kaalan(കാളന്‍ ).This is also one of the curries which is part of the Sadhya(the malayali feast).

easy Kaalan

We have sadhya for Onam,Vishu,Pirannal( birthdays),wedding and as a matter of fact even death( the type of sadhya varies)…But for the sadhya they make the kaalan with very less gravy but when I make it at home I like to have gravy in it as this mostly becomes my main curry. The curry is in a gravy of curd and coconut ..I don’t have to explain a malayali's love for coconuts.. do I?;)

One of the times we had sadhya at home..very less of everything as i dint want to waste.Kaalan on extreme right. 

Let me tell you one thing I can never write the correct pronunciation in English.The “L” comes with a twist!!This was one of the word which I used to tell N to try pronouncing .. he used to have a tough time getting it right… we used to have a good laugh.. anyway now he pronounces it well..and he loves this.. its mostly on his demand that I make kaalan at home.

Easy Kaalan

I am going to put a few pics of Kerala here..Just want to share with you all!!

From one of our houseboat trips in Alleppey,Kerala.


(The quantity is just an estimate, i don't normally measure when i am doing Indian cooking.. its just the feel in the hands,so adjust accordingly..but this should give you a fair idea)

Elephant foot yam(chena/jhimikand/suran),cut into 2" inch cube-1/2 to 3/4th  cup( it is also called as white spot giant arum or stink lily)
Raw plaintain(kaaya),cut into 2"inch cube- 1 cup
Turmeric powder-almost 1 tspn
Water- just enough to boil the vegetables and to grind paste..say a cup.
Sour curd-1 to 1 and 1/2 cups,whisked well
Salt as per taste

To grind to paste
Cumin seeds-1 tspn
Green Chillies –2
Freshly grated coconut-1cup (try to take only the white part.. dont scrape till u start getting the brown pieces in it)

For tempering:
Coconut oil-2tbspn
Fenugreek/Methi seeds -5-6
Mustard seeds- 2tblspn
Red chilli-2 broken into pieces
Curry leaves- a sprig, 8-10 leaves


How i made it?

First I will write a note about preparing the vegetables.

Some people get an itch when cleaning the yam. So apply coconut oil ( or any oil) generously on palm and then peel or rather cut off the skin of the yam and then chop it into pieces. Only after chopping wash it.I first wash stirring it with a spoon and putting it in a colander. I reduce contact as much as possible as I develop strong itching otherwise.
Now for the plaintain.Peel off skin and cut plaintain into cubes ad then soak in turmeric /haldi water for a few minutes. Then wash and use.

Ground paste:
Grind coconut,cumin seeds, green chili to very fine paste.(Some peope use curd to grind the paste or mix of curd and water)I used water today(but minimum required).

Take a thick bottomed pan and boil the yam with salt,turmeric  and pepper and with just enough water . then when yam is 1/2 to 3/4 done add plantain pieces .
When these two are boiled add in the ground coconut paste and mix well. Let it cook on low flame.
Then add in the whisked curd..No need to let it boil.As soon as the curd is warmed ,you may take it off the stove.
Now for the tempering:
Heat some cocnut oil in kadai.Add mustard seeds.Let it splutter.Add in methi seeds.Then the red chillies and curry leaves and pour over the kaalan.

Serve it with rice as main dish or as side dish with rice, sambar..pappadum is a must for me with Kaalan!
Enjoy a traditional malayali feast with a healthy set of ingredients.

Naadan Kaalan
That book did not hav ethe recipe ..just to show off "Kerala":)


You may alter teh quantity of yam and plantain.Sometimes only one of these is used.
Many people add curd first, after teh vegetables are boiled.I add cocnut first and tehn teh curd. This stops the curd from cirdling.
I always make it on low flame.
Some people grind methi seeds and add, I have never done that till date but will try next time.

Coconut oil has excellent benefits.You may check out a video on the health benefits of cocnut oil on my facebook page.Must watch.Click here
Yam is considered to be a healthy low-fat food and is a rich source of essential fatty acids (Omega-3 fatty acids) which are known to increase the good cholesterol levels in the blood. Eating elephant yam helps in increasing the estrogen levels in women’s bodies, thus helping in maintaining the hormonal balance. It is also high in vitamin B6. Consuming vitamin B6 provides relief from pre-menstrual syndrome in women. It is a natural product that is high in fiber. So it can be used as slimming food because it lowers cholesterol levels and promotes weight loss and also has a high concentration of key minerals. It is loaded with potassium, magnesium and phosphorous, as well as with trace minerals like selenium, zinc and copper.(vah revah.com)

Plantains contain vitamins A, C, E and K as well as some B-complex vitamins and are rich in potassium. They also contain other minerals, notably calcium, iron, phosphorous, magnesium, selenium and zinc. Apart from these they also contain Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids and 18 amino acids as well as flavonoids.
It is said that plantain juice, extracted straight from the tree is an antidote to snake bites, and that the mashed pulp of the ripe ones makes a good face mask.

Event Participation:

kkminibadge3 Kerala Kitchen event at sunmoonandpotatoes

 SIC series event at Anu's Healthy Kitchen


  1. Hi Renu the kaalan looks yummy I love to have it with steamed rice.

  2. very useful post renu.. thanks for sharing it.. kaalan looks awesome..

  3. The rains are very less this year... It doesn't really feel like rainy season anymore... It;s just regular on and off rains...

    I just made Kalan for lunch... My husband is a fan of Kalan... So It's made quite often here... The recipe that I follow doesn't use cumin... instead has methi seeds. Next time I'll add cumin...I guess it will be a good flavour...

    The pictures are beautiful... especially the black background ones.

  4. Yummy kaalan....lovely clicks....

  5. Alleppey pics are great Renu. Of course the kaalan clicks too. Looks very delicious!

  6. Beautifull blog.love the pics and the recipe.happy to follow u.

  7. You have a wonderful blog Renu..:-)Pls keep posting..:-)

  8. thnaks one and all of u ... u have given me the much reqd boost to keep blogging.. thanks gals!!:)


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