How to make thick and creamy kaalan?
A very popular traditional dish in Kerala. This is a must have during social events like marriages, festivals etc ... Excellent combo with rice / sambar / rasam / Kerala Pappadam !!
Serves: 5 - 6
For coconut paste:
7 tablespoon (100 g) grated coconut (coconut should not be too mature / use pachathenga)
3 green chillies (3 big size or 4 small size), chopped
A pinch of turmeric powder
1 teaspoon jeera (cumin seeds)
2 tablespoon water
Transfer above ingredients into a small mixer bowl and make a smooth paste with 2 tablespoons of water. It should be very thick and very smooth in consistency. Keep aside.
For the curd:
Tie fresh 500 ml curd in a clean muslin cloth (or a very clean Kerala Thorth) tightly. Hang it for draining water ( liquid from curd ) for 3 hours. You will get thick curd. See the photos below. Nestle Dahi or other leading brand won't take much time. Hung curd will be ready within half an hour.
For Chena (Elephant yam):
400 g chena, gently peel off the outer skin and cut into ½ - inch cubes (net weight is 400 g after removing the skin)
2 cups / 400 ml (Indian standard measuring cup of 200 ml / 8 oz capacity)
3/4 - 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon pepper powder
¼ cup / 50 ml water (for pepper powder)
½ teaspoon uluva powder (methi powder / fenugreek powder) – to add final stage
Dilute 1 teaspoon pepper powder in 50 ml water for 10 minutes and strain the water through a fine sieve. Keep aside.
In a pressure cooker, mix chena cubes with salt, turmeric powder, pepper water and 400 ml / 2 cups water. Pressure cook on a high heat for 3 quick whistles or until done and well cooked. Switch off the heat. Allow the cooker to cool naturally. Open the lid. If it is thick in consistency and no remains of water, then go to next step. If cooked chena contains ¼ cup water (stock), then boil again (do not cover with lid) for 10 minutes on a medium to low heat until the water dries up. Gently mash the cooked chena.
Double boiling method:
Mix cooked chena and hung curd in a bowl. Cook over a double boiler ( double boiler -a pair of saucepans / normal bowls, one of which fits above and partly inside the other: food is cooked in the upper one by water boiling in the lower and it helps even cooking and curd won’t curdle / thyru pirinju pokathilla). See the above photo. Double boil on a medium to low heat for 10 minutes until well blended.
Now add coconut paste and gently mix well. Double boil again on a medium heat for 8 – 10 minutes. Now it’s creamy and thick in consistency. Switch off the heat. Add uluva podi and gently mix well.
2 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon methi (fenugreek seeds / uluva)
1 spring dark green curry leaves (6 – 8 nos)
2 dried red chillies, halved
In a pan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds. When they crackle, add methi, curry leaves and halved red chillies. Saute on a low heat for 3 - 4 minutes or until crisp and fragrant. Pour the seasoning over kaalan and serve with rice and other accompaniments like sambar, rasam , cabbage thoran, Kerala pappadam ..