Kaalan is a staple in any Kerala Sadya especially for Onam Sadya. The usual kaalan recipe has both elephant yam (chena) and raw bananas (pachakkai). I add only yam since that’s more readily available here. Also, its important that the curd is slightly sour, otherwise the curry will taste a bit ‘flat’. Adding a bit of tamarind might take care of this, I haven’t tried that though.
Curd – 1.5 cups lightly beaten to remove lumps, best if slightly sour
Elephant yam (chena) – 1/2 cup, cubed
Coconut – 1/2 cup
Pepper powder – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Green chillies – 2 to 3
Fenugreek seeds (uluva) – 1/4 tsp
Dried red chillies – 2
Oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves – a few
How to Make Kaalan
1. Heat 1 cup water with the yam pieces and cook till almost done. (A fork inserted should come out easily. Make sure that the pieces are not mushy, just cooked). Meanwhile, grind coconut with green chillies well, with very little water.
2. Add salt, pepper powder and turmeric powder to the pan.
3. Lower the fire to minimum and add the beaten curd along with the ground coconut. After about five minutes, removed from fire and set aside.
4. Heat oil in a pan and temper mustard seeds. Lightly fry the fenugreek seeds (take care not to burn it!) with the curry leaves and the red chillies. Add this to the above curry and mix well.