04 October, 2011


Kalan, is one of many side dishes in a traditional Kerala Sadhya (elaborate meal served on plantain leaves). It is made of plantain, yam with a yogurt and coconut based semi-gravy. Kalan if made to serve for Sadhya should not flow when you serve it on the plantain leaves.

The recipe, I used is from Ammupatti's Blog. Most recipe's I referred to were the same with little or no variations at all, with no proper credit given. I really don't know whose original recipe is being followed around but it works really well and that is why you find it everywhere with very less variations. 

I've made Kalan many times before (Ranjit's favorite) but I never got a perfect Kalan, because I never paid attention to a small detail in the recipe, which said sour -thick curd. The curd should be sour and thick, both. Either thick or sour won't really work well. Believe me, if you get the right curd, your Kalan is half way there. I'm talking out of my mistakes experience here. And then just following this recipe to the T and you will have a finger licking good Kalan.

When I made it the first time I was actually wondering at each step whether it is supposed to look like this ( I'm fairly new to South Indian cooking). For the benefit of someone who has never really known what Kalan is, I took pictures of every step possible. If you try this, please let me know how it turned out, I'd be really happy to know that, it was worth the effort.

That turned out to be a long introduction. Now lets get to work. 


Preparation time: 20minutes
Cooking time:30minutes for Moru curry, 45 minutes or more for Kurukku Kalan

  • 2 Plantains
  • 2tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1tbsp Black Pepper Powder
  • 6 cups Sour Thick curd
  • 1tsp Fenugreek / Methi seeds
  • 1 cup Grated/ Shredded Coconut
  • 6 Green Chillies
  • 4 Sprigs of Curry Leaves
  • 3 Dried Red Chillies
  • 1tbsp Mustard Seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • 1tbsp Coconut Oil   

1. Peel the skin off the two plantains and cut into one inch cubes. Soak in turmeric water for 5minutes, this is done to thoroughly clean the plantain by getting rid of the sticky layer over it.

2. Whisk the 6 cups of thick sour curd, and keep it aside.

3. Thoroughly wash the soaked plantain cubes a few times with fresh water to wash off all the turmeric.

4. Cook the plantain in 1cup water, with 2tsp turmeric, 1tbsp black pepper and salt to taste. If you are using a pressure cooker, water just enough to get the plantain cooked. You can even microwave it. The whole point is to get the plantain cooked with the minimum amount of water.

5. Fry 1tsp fenugreek / methi seeds in very little coconut oil. To absorb the excess oil place it onto a tissue paper. Allow it to cool. and grind to get fine powder.

6. Grind the coconut and green chillies into a smooth paste using water as sparingly as possible.

7. Place the cooked plantain in a heavy bottomed pot, it is important as too much heat will lead to splitting of the curd, and all your hard work so far will go down the drain. And add the whisked curd into the pot, and let it simmer and keep stirring it frequently. Stirring will help the heat to distribute well which will also help to prevent the curd from splitting.

8. Now if you wish to make Kurkku Kalan, keep cooking it till it reaches a semi gravy consistency, or if  you are lazy don't have time, or just want it to be free flowing, you can continue with step 9 once the curd is warm throughout.

9. Add the fenugreek/methi powder, two springs of curry leaves and the coconut green chilly paste, salt if required and cook for 5 minutes. (Curry leaves in this step are optional, but I add it for the health benefits)

10. For tempering heat 1tbsp of oil, splutter the mustard seeds, add broken red chillies and curry leaves. Make sure to lower the heat after the mustard seeds have spluttered, this will make sure you don't burn the red chillies.

11. Add the tempering to the  Kalan, and serve with rice.

Kalan can be made two days in advance. Just follow instructions till the 8th step (exclude step6). And store it under refrigeration. The day you want to serve Kalan, follow the rest of the procedure, to get awesome tasting Kalan in no time.Isn't that good, do the work on weekend and enjoy fresh tasting Kalan on weekdays. 

Health & Nutrition: 

  • Plantains are a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C and provide traces of iron.
  • Curd is a good source of protein and calcium. The pro-biotic bacteria or good bacteria in the curd is an essential part of a healthy digestive tract.
  • Coconut contains calcium, vitamin C and high percentage of iron.
  • Curry leaves have a number of health benefits including mantaining the blood pressure.
  • Coconut also contains high amount of saturated fats, which raise the LDL( low density- lipo protein)/ bad cholesterol level. It is advised to avoid food containing saturated fats if you have high cholesterol.

I'm linking this recipe to these events: 

Kerala Kitchen hosted by Khushi at A Girls Diary

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