Ethakka Kaalan - A very popular traditional dish in Kerala. This is a must have during social events like ona sadya, marriages, festivals etc ... An excellent combo with rice and other accompaniments (like avail, thoran , pappadam…). No added red chilli powder.
For the coconut paste:
75 g (5 / 6 tablespoon) grated coconut
1 teaspoon jeera (cumin seeds)
1 green chilli, chopped (1 big size or 2 small size)
Make a paste of grated coconut with jeera and green chilli in a small mixer bowl. Add 1 - 2 tablespoon water when making the paste. It should be thick and smooth in consistency. Keep aside.
Other main ingredients
1 raw banana / ethakka (big size) (or 250 g Elephant foot yam / chena / soornu)
100 – 150 ml water
1 teaspoon pepper powder (dilute 1 teaspoon pepper powder in 4 teaspoons of water. Strain it through a fine sieve and use clear pepper water to cook)
½ - 3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
2 pinches turmeric powder
200 ml thick curd (whisk curd until creamy)
1/4 teaspoon uluva podi / methi powder
Wash and clean ethakka (raw plantain). Peel off the skin, wash well and cut into 1/2 - inch cubes. In a bowl, boil ethakka cubes in water (enough water to cover ethakka, up to the level of ethakka) with salt, turmeric powder and clear pepper water. Mix all the ingredients well. Cover and cook on a medium to low heat for 12 – 15 minutes until ethakk tender / almost cooked.
When ethakka cubes are well cooked, add coconut paste. Do not add extra water. Mix it well and cook on a very low heat for 5 - 7 minutes until it boils well.
Now add whisked creamy curd. Stir all the ingredients well. Please try this method - Cook over a double boiler ( double boiler -a pair of saucepans, 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 / thayir pirinju pokathilla). Cover with a lid and cook on a low to medium heat for 12 minutes. See the photo given below. Switch off the heat and sprinkle uluva podi and mix well.
For the seasoning:
2 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds / uluva / methi seeds (optional)
1 spring dark green curry leaves or 6 nos
2 dried red chillies, halved
In a pan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds. When they crackle, add curry leaves, fenugreek seeds (uluva) and halved red chillies. Saute on a low heat for 1 -2 minutes or until crisp. Pour the seasoning over kaalan and serve with rice and other accompaniments like sambar, rasam , avial …