Kalan is a versatile vegetarian dish and is truly the pride of Kerala. It is one of the most important dish in the sadhya menu and if you are a sadhya lover,you can never say no to this dish.
It is made with common ingredients-vegetables,yogurt and coconut, but it has a unique taste and flavor and can be kept in room temperature for at least two weeks. It is a delicate cooking technique and the vegetables are slowly simmered and cooked in yogurt and the gravy is thick.
Kalan is a specialty in Central Kerala. It is also popular in South Kerala where it is a thinner gravy and is served over rice. I have already posted a Kurukku kalan which is a more thicker version with chembu/taro. Traditionally the vegetables used in sadhya is plantains and yam/chena.
Plantain Raw- 1 medium
Yam/chena cut in cubes- 1 cup
Pepper powder- 1 tsp
Chilly powder-1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/3 tsp
Curry leaves- a few
Salt to taste
Yogurt- 1/2 liter
To make a paste
Coconut- 1 1/2 cup
Cumin- 1/2 tsp
Green chilly- 3
For the tempering
Mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds- 1/3 tsp
Dry red chilly- 2
Curry leaves a few
Oil- 2 tsp
Cut plantains lengthwise and into small one inch cubes or as thin slanted cuts. Cut yam into small cubes.
Make a fine paste of coconut,cumin,curry leaves and green chilly. Add very little water to make the paste. Keep aside.
Mix pepper powder with little water and strain it with a thin cloth. In a pot add this water along with the vegetables, chilly powder( it is optional, add green chilly instead according to taste), turmeric powder, curry leaves and ghee and cook till it is soft. When it becomes soft add salt. Adding ghee enhances taste and also help from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Mix yogurt and stir continuously till it starts to boil. Reduce the flame and continue to cook the vegetables with yogurt till it is thick and gets well coated on the vegetables.
Note This recipe calls for continuous cooking of the yogurt. It will start separating in the beginning,but it will thicken and all the water will evaporate
At this stage add the ground paste and simmer for one or two minute Add 1/2 tsp of powdered fenugreek powder and mix.
Heat oil and ghee in a pan and add mustard seeds and a few fenugreek seeds. When it splutters add dry red chilly and curry leaves. Pour this over the curry. Cover with a lid till it is ready to e served.
Note: This recipe has a little gravy. It is more like southern Kerala style recipe. You can use the same recipe to make Trissur style Katti kalan. It is served as a side dish just like aviyal and is a dry dish. To make it follow the same recipe but do not add any water to the make the coconut paste and cook down the yogurt till completely dry (will update this post later with a pic of katti kalan)
Hope you will all enjoy.